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Patrol Kills 14 Extremists, Afghanistan Operations Continue

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2006 – Coalition forces in Afghanistan today killed 14 enemy fighters at a Taliban safe house and killed one enemy fighter and captured eight others in a separate raid, military officials reported.

A coalition patrol in the Kamdesh district in Nuristan province tracked a band of 14 extremists traveling with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades and attacked them once they reached their safe house, destroying two buildings in the compound, officials said.

Afghan National Army and coalition forces seized the compound and identified 14 dead enemy combatants. No ANA or coalition soldiers or civilians were injured in the attack, and careful precautions were made to ensure the safety and well-being of Afghan citizens, officials said.

Afghan and coalition forces conducted a raid early this morning in the village of Gapozal in Kandahar province, killing one enemy fighter and detaing eight others. These individuals had planned and carried out attacks on Afghan and coalition forces in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, officials said.

Information gathered through interviews with recently detained extremists led Afghan and coalition forces to the location where these individuals were hiding, officials said.

"Operation Mountain Thrust continues," said Air Force Lt. Col. John Paradis, a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spokesman. "Recent Afghan and coalition operations have been extremely successful in capturing numerous terrorists and terrorist facilitators who pose a danger to Afghan citizens. These operations will continue in order to bring these extremists to justice."

The operation is part of a successive phase of an ongoing campaign to disrupt enemy forces, interdict safe havens, extend the reach of the government of Afghanistan, and facilitate good governance, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.

Officials noted today that military operations are only one part of the overall coalition effort in Afghanistan. The coalition is overseeing 59 ongoing projects as part of the Commander's Emergency Reconstruction Program, or CERP. These projects include creation and repair of basic infrastructure, such as water, power, healthcare and education. The coalition also is delivering critical services, supplies and assistance to the people in various regions of the country, officials said.

"The defeat of extremism is certainly an important part of our operations here," said Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76. "As security improves, so will the services to the people."

Since Operation Mountain Thrust began in late May, more than 29,000 Afghan citizens have seen doctors and received medical care in the southern provinces alone, officials noted. In addition, Afghan and coalition troops have distributed more than 40,000 radios to people to help them stay informed about local news.

"Our objective is to assist the local populace and support the legitimate government," said Freakley. "As we root out and destroy extremists attempting to operate in southern Afghanistan, we're following up with needed medical assistance for people and their livestock as well as humanitarian assistance and reconstruction requested by provincial and local government."

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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