Canadian and Afghan troops have swept through villages southwest of Kandahar only to find that locals had already ejected the Taliban.
A combined force of roughly 1,000 troops, supported by tanks and helicopters, spent the last six days scouring through hamlets on the outskirts of the city, areas that have been known staging points for militants.
The operation in Adamzai and Khenjakak was conducted under a media blackout and is in the same general vicinity where Canadian soldiers fought pitched battles last fall.
But villagers told troops and the district governor at a shura - or meeting - on Monday that they had already chased the Taliban away and told them not to return.
Afghan and Canadian commanders were quick to say the absence of insurgent activity in the area was sign NATO's new counter-insurgency strategy was working without anyone having to fire a shot.
Known as Operation Lion II, it was the first Afghan National Army planned and led offensive sweep.