Troops in Afghanistan Respond to Attack, Detain Insurgents
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, March 13, 2006 Coalition forces are continuing assaults against extremists in the Pech Valley of Afghanistan's Kunar province following a roadside bomb attack that killed four U.S. servicemembers yesterday, military officials reported today.
The coalition's response has resulted in the detention of 11 insurgents believed responsible for the attack. Operations to kill or capture other extremists, deny them sanctuary, and restore stability to the area are continuing, officials said.
"The sacrifice of our fallen comrades only strengthens our resolve to bring stability to the people in this important region of Afghanistan," said Col. John Nicholson, commander of the coalition's Combined Task Force Spartan in eastern Afghanistan. "We will work even harder with our Afghan brothers in the security forces and the government to do so."
Marines and soldiers of the task force swept the valley with support from field artillery, AH-64 attack helicopters and AC-130 gunships after encountering small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from enemy fighters.
The servicemembers killed in yesterday's roadside bomb attack were conducting route-clearance operations to keep a road open for civilian and military traffic.
"The extremists that initiated this senseless attack create a significant danger and threat to the Afghan people," Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, head of Combined Joint Task Force 76, said yesterday. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our soldiers today; their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
"These engineers build much-needed roads that promote economic growth and quality of life for all Afghans. This attack is reprehensible," he said.
Names of the deceased servicemembers are being withheld pending notification of their next of kin.
(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)