US and Afghan soldiers combing southern Afghanistan for Taleban and al-Qaida fugitives have arrested at least 12 suspects.
Some US troops also were the target of more than 10 inaccurate rebel missile attacks during Friday's search of Kandahar province, near the Pakistani border.
More than one-thousand US troops backed by attack helicopters are participating in the latest military operation --dubbed "Valiant Strike." The operation -- which began Thursday -- includes house-to house and mountain cave searches in the district of Maruf, where Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has tribal links.
U-S officials say the mission in Kandahar has been planned for months, and that it is pure coincidence that it began shortly after war broke out in Iraq.
Friday's sweeps for remnants of the Taleban and al-Qaida came as Afghan's marked their New Year.
In as statement, US Secretary of State Colin Powell congratulated the Afghan people on the occasion of their New Year. He said Afghans are enjoying newfound freedoms, and for the first time in decades the country is largely at peace. He added the United States will continue its support of the country in the year ahead.