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Forces Detain Three Insurgents, Seize Weapons in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces working in concert across Afghanistan today detained three insurgents, including a Taliban field commander, and uncovered weapons caches, military officials said.

Afghan national security forces and coalition advisors using accurate intelligence located and killed a key Taliban leader and discovered a weapons cache near Aram Village, in Paktya province.

The Taliban leader slain in the attack was a mid-level field commander and improvised explosive device-cell leader, known only as “Commander Saleem,” military officials said. The commander had led and conducted attacks that killed numerous Afghan and coalition forces.

Saleem also served as a Taliban communications officer, distributing letters and disseminating insurgent propaganda designed to terrorize the local population into complying with Taliban objectives, officials said.

While searching Saleem’s compound, Afghan National Police members found improvised explosive device-making material and a weapons cache located in a cave complex near the compound. In total, forces recovered eight mortar rounds, one can of heavy machine gun ammunition and various IED-making supplies and explosives.

A woman inside Saleem’s compound during the operation was wounded in the enemy crossfire. Troops evacuated her to a coalition medical facility for treatment.

“The successful completion of this mission is an example of how far (the Afghan National Police) have progressed as a fighting force,” Belcher said. “Coalition forces provided only minimal assistance to the ANP during planning and execution of this operation, and the ANP performed all of their tasks flawlessly.”

During an operation this morning in the Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, coalition troops detained two suspects and seized weapons and ammunition.

Credible intelligence led troops to a compound where insurgents allegedly were taking sanctuary. While searching the premises, coalition troops detained two men suspected of militant activity, military officials said. The suspects are being held for questioning.

At the site, troops discovered AK-47 assault rifles and magazines, which they destroyed a safe distance away. No civilians were killed during the operation, military officials said.

“Militants who demand sanctuary put innocent people at risk,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “It is in the best interest of the community to remove the terrorists and extremists who endanger their families.”

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

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