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136 Taliban Fighters Killed, Two Detained in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2007 – Coalition forces killed 136 Taliban combatants and captured two suspects during operations in Afghanistan over the past four days.

During a raid this morning in the Khowst district of Khowst province, coalition forces detained two men at a suspected al Qaeda safe house. Upon arriving at the site, coalition forces discovered the men trying to hide an automatic weapon, ammunition and military-style load-bearing vests.

The raid was conducted based on credible reports of recent sightings of militants and weapons at the compound, military officials said. The detainees will be questioned to determine their identities and their affiliation with violent extremists in the area. No shots were fired, and there were no injuries during the operation.

U.S. Special Forces soldiers, accompanied by Afghan National Police and other coalition members, identified and engaged several Taliban fighting positions 37 miles south of Shindand, in Herat province, while conducting a reconnaissance patrol yesterday.

After gaining intelligence describing Taliban activity in the Zerkoh Valley, coalition and Afghan National Police forces maneuvered into positions to pinpoint and attack the Taliban fighters. Once in position, coalition and Afghan National Police forces initiated the attack on the enemy positions with mortars, small arms and rocket propelled grenades.

A few hours later, additional coalition and Afghan National Army reinforcements arrived. A coalition aircraft was requested and dropped multiple munitions on several identified enemy locations. As Taliban fighters attempted to flee, an AC-130 gunship engaged and killed 26 enemy fighters on both sides of the river valley. A total of seven enemy positions were destroyed, and 87 Taliban fighters were killed during the 14-hour engagement.

Forty-eight hours earlier and under the cover of darkness, U.S. Special Forces and Afghan National Police patrolling near the village of Parmakan, in the Zerkoh Valley, received small-arms and rocket-propelled-grenade fire from more than 70 Taliban fighters.

During the engagement, 49 Taliban fighters, including two local Taliban leaders, were killed by a combination of small-arms fire and close-air support. As was previously reported on April 27, one U.S. Army soldier was killed in the engagement.

Every precaution was taken to prevent injury to innocent Afghan civilians during the two battles, and there were no civilian injuries reported, U.S. officials said.

“Taliban fighters are no match for ANP and coalition forces,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “We will intensify our operations to rid Afghanistan of all Taliban and foreign fighters who harm innocent Afghan civilians and threaten the government of Afghanistan.”

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

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