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13 Weapons Caches Found in Afghanistan in One Week

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2005 – Thirteen weapons caches were discovered and taken off the streets throughout Afghanistan since Jan. 24, a U.S. military spokesman said during a press conference in Kabul today.

One large cache included more than 10,000 mortar rounds, 500 122 mm artillery rounds, rockets and fuses. The large cache was found in Hilmand province along with another cache containing 85 mortar rounds, 240 Hind helicopter rockets, 285 recoilless-rifle rounds, 320 rocket-propelled-grenade rounds and six mines, according to Army Maj. Mark McCann, spokesman for the Coalition Press Information Center in Kabul.

McCann said weapons and munitions caches were discovered throughout the country, including five in Hilmand province, four in Kandahar province, two in Nangarhar province and one each in Herat and Kabul provinces.

He said Afghan citizens and security forces continue to assist coalition forces by turning in weapons caches, and this trend has continued to increase over the past two years. For example, McCann said, only 10 percent of all weapons caches were turned in by local Afghan citizens, not including Afghan security forces, in 2003. That number increased to 31 percent in 2004.

Two hundred thirty-six weapons caches have been discovered throughout Afghanistan since October 2004;99 of those were turned in to coalition forces by Afghan citizens, local Afghan government officials and Afghan security forces, McCann noted.

"This trend is important for many reasons," he continued, "to create a secure environment, to ensure stability, and to improve the quality of life for all Afghans."

McCann said a Jan. 25 incident emphasizes the importance of finding weapons caches and getting them off the streets. The incident occurred when a local citizen turned in two rocket-propelled-grenade rounds to Afghan soldiers, who went to investigate where the rounds came from. When the soldiers arrived at the site, they saw children playing with an even larger cache of RPG rounds.

"These unattended caches present an even greater danger to innocent people who may come upon them," McCann noted. "Therefore, it's important that everyone work together to eliminate this hazard."

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