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Afghan, Coalition Forces Capture Militants

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces detained several militants in operations conducted yesterday and today, U.S. military officials reported.

A militant was detained during an operation in Afghanistan’s Khowst province today, after intelligence led Afghan and coalition forces to a compound suspected of harboring anti-coalition militants.

An empty ammunition vest, ammunition, various weapons and propaganda items were found in a search of the compound. The detained individual will be questioned regarding his identity and involvement in insurgent activities, officials said.

No shots were fired, no damage was done to the compound, and there were no indications of civilian injuries or deaths.

In addition, Afghan and coalition forces detained four men during an operation in the Nangarhar province today.

Coalition forces searched a compound suspected of housing militants with ties to an al Qaeda group known as the Tora Bora Front. During the search, forces found a landmine. The mine was destroyed in place.

“Pockets of hard-core extremists are attempting to destabilize the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman, said. “Operations like this one help deter their success and promote peace and stability.”

There were no civilian injuries or deaths during the operation.

Also, Afghan National Police officers arrested Shir Agha, a high-level militant weapons dealer, yesterday in Nangarhar province. Agha was later turned over to coalition forces in the area.

Afghan police continue taking the lead in providing security and civil order in their country, officials said. The Afghan police leadership had minimal coalition assistance during the planning process and they executed the operation on their own, officials added.

Intelligence suggests that Agha supplied large quantities of weapons to the Hizb-E-Islami Gulbuddin terrorist cell and network commanders throughout the Nangarhar province. Coalition forces believe this arrest will disrupt the flow of weapons to other terrorist cells in southern Nangarhar.

“This operation is indicative of the Nangarhar Afghan National Police’s capacity to conduct successful high-risk operations as a unilateral force,” Belcher said. “The ANP’s ability to enforce law and order in Nangarhar province is demonstrated by their execution of successful missions that support the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

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

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