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Coalition Forces in Afghanistan Monitor Situation of Detention of U.N. Workers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2004 – Coalition officials in Kabul, Afghanistan, today said that the coalition continues to monitor the situation involving the detention of three U.N. election workers: Shiqipe Habibi, Angelilto Nayan, and Anetta Flanigan.

The three workers have been missing since early October.

Army Maj. Scott Nelson, spokesman for Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, said the coalition has met daily with the Afghan officials to receive updates on the situation. "We continue to support the government's efforts to secure the safe release of all three being held," he said.

"We know that the actions taken by these hostage takers do not reflect the true feelings of all Afghans, who appreciate the efforts of organizations like the United Nations -- efforts designed to improve the lives of the Afghan people and bring stability and peace to Afghanistan," he added.

Nelson said the primary concern is the safe release of all three individuals.

Meanwhile, military officials said coalition forces and the Afghan National Army are continuing aggressive operations to further increase security and stability throughout Afghanistan.

On Nov. 3, Afghan, Pakistani, and U.S. soldiers joined forces to defend the town of Shkin, in Paktika province, during a rocket attack in what military officials say was a historical combined operation.

Soldiers from these three nations conducted a coordinated attack against militant forces in the border region between Shkin and Wana, Pakistan, Nelson said.

He said anti-coalition forces operating near the border region attacked Shkin.

Having a "better view" of the target area from their border checkpoint in Pakistan, "Pakistani soldiers adjusted artillery fire for Afghan and U.S. forces on the Afghan side of the border using radios supplied by the U.S. just two days earlier," Nelson said.

He said the operation demonstrates the "commitment of Pakistan to fight terrorism as well as the strong ties between neighboring countries in the region."

During military operations earlier this week, coalition forces killed four anti-coalition militia members during a search of a compound north of Deh Rahwod, in Oruzgan province. One anti-coalition member was wounded and detained. No others were injured during the operation.

Also, on Nov. 4, a remote-controlled improvised explosive device detonated near an ANA convoy southeast of Orgun-E, in Paktika province. The blast struck a civilian vehicle near the convoy, destroying the vehicle and killing five local civilians.

Elsewhere, the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Jalalabad reported late Nov. 3 that two IEDs exploded just northeast of their compound.

Team members said the first IED was attached to the wall of the USAID compound and the second IED detonated in the vicinity of a Swedish Aid compound. There were no injuries as a result of these explosions.

Despite the violent activities directed at coalition and Afghan forces and against innocent civilians and aid organizations, "we are heartened by the continued cooperation we receive from the people of Afghanistan," Nelson said. "We see steady progress by the people of Afghanistan as they assume more responsibility for establishing a secure environment in their own country."

(Complied from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan press releases.)

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