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Afghan, Coalition Forces Repel Two Ambush Attacks

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2007 – Afghan National Army and police forces supported by coalition forces defeated two separate Taliban ambushes yesterday and today in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, military officials reported.

The first ambush began yesterday afternoon northwest of the Sangin District Center. A combined force led by an element of Afghan National Auxiliary Police advised by coalition forces was on a combat patrol near the village of Regay when insurgents attacked from multiple compounds and trenches using small-arms fire, mortars and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers.

The Afghan police-led force repelled the attempted ambush with small-arms fire and artillery. When the insurgents reinforced their fighting positions, the Afghan police requested coalition close-air support, and coalition aircraft performed precision air strikes on the insurgents.

Two insurgents were wounded, and four were killed in the engagement.

“The (Afghan national security forces) are defeating the extremist fighters in the Helmand River area because (they) are trained and cohesive warriors who have become seasoned and skilled defenders of their country,” said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokeswoman. “Credible intelligence suggests the Taliban will continue their attempt to maintain a strong presence in the region as part of a self-destructive effort to block forces supporting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan who are clearing the insurgents from the Musa Qala area.”

The second attack occurred today when Taliban insurgents engaged an Afghan army and coalition patrol near Regay. The insurgents attacked the patrol with mortar fire, and the Afghan and coalition forces immediately returned fire, killing a number of insurgents with accurate small-arms and mortar fire.

“The (Afghan National Army) in the Helmand province have reached a state of battle-hardened efficiency, which is bad news for the insurgents,” Bowman said. “The Taliban should know that they will constantly be hunted until this country is free of their terrorist activities. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will not allow any area of this country to be a safe haven for insurgents.”

In other news from Afghanistan, coalition forces used small-arms fire to stop an oncoming vehicle in Kabul yesterday after several non-lethal attempts failed to stop the approaching Afghan motorist.

The driver of the vehicle and a bystander were wounded in the operation.

“Medical personnel are doing everything in their power to care for the wounded civilians, and our prayers are with them for a full, quick recovery,” Bowman said. “Coalition forces take many precautionary measures to ensure the safety of civilians. We regret these two were injured, and a full investigation will be conducted into the incident.”

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

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