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U.S., Afghan Troops Conduct Raids in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2007 – American and Afghan security forces teamed up to shut down a militant suicide-vehicle-bomb-making network during an operation in the Bati Kot area of Nangarhar province April 29, military officials reported.

As the raid began, coalition troops trying to enter the militants’ compound came under small-arms fire, officials said. The coalition troops returned fire, killing four militants.

Unfortunately, a woman and a teenager were killed in the crossfire, officials reported, and a young child and a teenage female were wounded. The injured Afghan civilians are being treated at a coalition medical facility.

Coalition forces found several AK-47 rifles, shotguns, chest racks with ammunition and material suitable for constructing improvised explosive devices. An adult male found in the compound was detained for questioning.

“We are saddened at the loss of civilian life,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, Combined Joint Task Force-82 spokesman. “It is extremely unfortunate that militants put others’ lives in danger by hiding among their families.”

The raid was conducted on a tipster’s information citing the compound as a staging area for upcoming suicide-vehicle-borne-improvised explosive device attacks on coalition forces in the Bati Kot area, officials said.

A recent militant-staged SVBIED attack in the Bati Kot area had targeted a convoy, officials said, in which several Afghan civilians had been killed.

Additionally, a separate coalition-forces operation conducted in Nangarhar province April 29 netted IED-making material and four suspected militants, officials reported.

In other Afghanistan news, U.S. and Afghan security forces seized an Afghan male and weapons during a raid on a suspected Taliban safe house in Khowst province April 29, officials reported.

A search of several buildings yielded hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, rocket launchers and an AK-47 rifle, officials said. Militants had been seen exiting a nearby house, according to the resident family. The Taliban had stolen their money and abused them, the family said, while using their house as a hiding place.

“Taliban members don’t have the interest of peaceful Afghans at heart,” Belcher said. “They are simply grabbing for power and putting innocent families in harm’s way in an attempt to renew their hold on this country.”

Another coalition-Afghan security forces-staged raid on a house in the Gubuz district of Khowst province on April 28 resulted in the seizure of several automatic weapons and the detention of three adult males, officials reported. Intelligence reports cited the house as a militant meeting and hiding place.

In other news Afghan and coalition security forces killed 10 Taliban operatives and destroyed two buildings during an air and ground engagement in Helmand province April 28, officials said.

The Taliban had attacked a coalition convoy, which fought back and used close-air support to destroy enemy forces firing from nearby buildings.

“Taliban forces clearly lost this engagement and will continue to lose throughout Afghanistan,” Belcher said.

Additionally, coalition officials reported the death of a key militant leader as the result of an allied operation conducted April 22 in Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan.

Habib Jan, a senior leader of insurgent forces operating in the Pech Valley and northeast Afghanistan, was killed in the engagement along with four other militants, officials reported. The deceased militants had been flushed out and were being chased by Afghan National Police and Afghan soldiers.

Jan and his followers were wanted by authorities for their role in local bombing attacks, assassinations, and intimidation efforts throughout the region, officials said.

Afghan officials celebrated Jan’s death, citing it as a major victory against the terrorists. Haji Zalmay, the Pech district sub-governor, said Jan “murdered innocent people” and was a major cause of instability in the region.

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force - 82 news releases.)

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