U.S. Troops, Afghan Police Sweep Through Taliban Stronghold

Reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan U.S. soldiers and Afghan police early Saturday swarmed a dense Taliban stronghold of mud-brick homes on the western shoulder of Kandahar, conducting searches and promising aid in a preview of a planned summer campaign to control the insurgent movement's spiritual home. Operation Kokaran was named for the neighborhood where the Taliban have assassinated government officials and built infiltration routes. The U.S. goal is to clear out insurgents, build up local governance and bring in reconstruction projects. » Don't miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox. Only a few shots were fired during the most comprehensive military-civilian operation in Kandahar since President Obama in December ordered 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. It is the first time civilian aid and reconstruction teams have taken part in conceiving and planning a military clearing operation here, U.S. officials said. Hours later, insurgents launched a rocke