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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill More Than 24 Enemy Fighters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2007 – Coalition and Afghan forces have killed and detained more than two dozen enemy fighters in operations in Afghanistan over the past two days, U.S. officials said.

Afghan and coalition forces killed “a few” militants and detained three others early today in an operation against Taliban forces at a compound in the Shahjoy district of Zabul province.

During the brief firefight that resulted in the enemy casualties, two civilians were caught in the crossfire. A teenage boy died at the scene, and a younger boy was evacuated to a coalition medical facility.

“Coalition and Afghan forces strive to avoid civilian injuries and are saddened by the loss of life,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “But, when extremists insist on hiding among civilians, as they clearly were here, they are abusing the kindness of their hosts and putting innocents at risk.”

The coalition forces in this operation were acting on credible intelligence that indicated the compound was sheltering local Taliban facilitators of foreign fighters. After the engagement, local villagers confirmed the enemy fighters killed at the scene were Taliban militants.

In other news from Afghanistan, enemy fighters attacked a group of Afghan National Police and coalition forces on patrol three kilometers north of Putay, in the Sangin district of Helmand province yesterday.

More than two dozen enemy fighters were killed during the nine-hour battle, and there are no reports of Afghan civilian injuries.

Elsewhere yesterday, coalition forces engaged several enemy fighters who were positioning a rocket near Kowndalan, in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province. One enemy vehicle was destroyed, and several enemy fighters were killed.

In Zabul province, enemy fighters attacked a combined Afghan National Army and coalition patrol with machine gun and rocket-propelled-grenade fire near Baylogh, in the Deh Chopan district. “A few” enemy fighters were killed during the five-hour firefight, coalition officials said.

Earlier this week, Afghan National Police detained Nawroze, a Taliban financier known only by his last name, in the Sabari district of Khowst province. Nawroze was the primary financier for a Khowst-area Taliban network. According to U.S. officials, he provided financial support to local fighters and paid local tribesmen to conduct attacks against Afghan government officials and innocent Afghan civilians.

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

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