American troops join Canadian forces in Kandahar province

About 800 American troops will now be helping Canadian forces in the fight against Taliban insurgents in Kandahar province, military officials announced Saturday.

About 800 American troops will be helping Canadian forces in the fight against Taliban insurgents in Kandahar province, military officials announced Saturday.

The new troops come from the 2nd Infantry Battalion, based at Fort Hood, Tex.

The battalion, better known as the Ramrods or the 2-2s, arrived in Kandahar in early July and are setting up a base in Maywand district, which is northwest of Kandahar city and borders on Helmand province.

U.S. Lt.-Col. Dan Hurlbut said the Americans have been scoping out the area for a few weeks. Maywand is considered a dangerous place, overrun by the Taliban, and NATO troops haven't spent much time in the area.

"Our initial impression is there are some folks who are happy to see us. There are other folks who are probably reluctant, at best, because of the Taliban presence that's been there for so long," Hurlbut said.

The Americans will come under the command of Canadian Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, who said the U.S. battalion's mission is to disrupt the flow of Taliban money and weapons in Maywand district, making it safer in areas where some of Canada's soldiers are based.

"I am confident that their presence in this district will contribute greatly to the overall security situation and will assist in the expansion of reconstruction, development and capacity building initiatives," Thompson said.

When the U.S. forces have their base up and running, the number of NATO troops fighting insurgents in the province will nearly double to 1,800.

The Canadians have about 1,000 infantry troops in Afghanistan. In total, about 2,500 military personnel are part of Canada's mission.