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Battles Near Kandahar Kill 3 Enemies; Afghan Detainees Released

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2005 – Afghan and U.S. troops patrolling northeast of Kandahar killed two enemies, wounded another and captured two after being attacked with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades today, military officials said. Eleven other individuals were questioned in relation to the attack and were released. On June 30, U.S. forces were attacked with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenades by about 10 enemies traveling in two vehicles and two motorcycles northwest of Kandahar. The ensuing firefight resulted in one enemy killed and four detained for questioning. All four were later released. "We stand ready, alongside the Afghan armed forces, to defeat these terrorists at every turn," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara, a spokesperson for Combined Joint Task Force 76. "Where these criminals want to oppress and terrorize the Afghan people, we hope this nation will one day enjoy the fruits of liberty and prosperity."

In other news, the Afghan government has coordinated the reconciliation of 199 detainees from coalition detention facilities as part of the Afghan Program "Takhim-e-Solh," or "Strengthening Peace."

Fifty-seven participants were in the first group released today, military officials said. They were given a medical examination, given their personal effects and transferred from coalition custody to the Afghan government. They were transported to the program's office in Kabul to be registered and were allowed to return home under the supervision of tribal elders.

Mohammad Daud, program director for the Office of the National Security Council, and Mulavi Muhaidin Baluch, an adviser to the president, recently spoke with detained Afghans to describe the program and offer them the option to join.

All detained Afghans who were offered the chance to participate accepted the opportunity. The rest of the participants will be released in the near future, officials said. Those who wish to participate in the program do not receive amnesty, but agree to renounce violence and pledge their support to Afghanistan.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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