Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he had a successful meeting with about 300 local leaders in Kandahar, who gave him the greenlight to start a military operation against the Taliban in the province.
Karzai, along with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, met with tribal and provincial leaders Sunday to gather support for the upcoming NATO-led operation, according to CNN's Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson, who is traveling with them.
The group sat on carpets and cushions on the floor as they listened to Karzai passionately talk about increasing security and ending corruption. He also had a stong message for the Taliban.
"First I call on the Taliban for peace. Do not kill your country men and children. Do not kill innocents," Karzai said. "Separate yourself from al Qaeda and the terrorists."
Karzai did not say when the upcoming military operation would take place, but did say American soldiers would have a role in it.
McChrystal said last week that anti-Taliban operations in Helmand province would take longer than initially thought.