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U.S. Chopper Makes Unscheduled Landing; Taliban Attack Thwarted

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2007 – A coalition helicopter made an unscheduled landing in Afghanistan today without injury to its crew or passengers, while Afghan and coalition forces thwarted a Taliban attack near Firebase Anaconda, in Oruzgun province, U.S. officials reported.

The CH-47 Chinook helicopter landed southeast of Khogyani, in Nangarhar province. The crew decided to land the helicopter as part of safe air operations. No injuries to the crew or passengers were reported. There’s no indication the aircraft was fired on by enemy forces or of enemy activity in the area where the helicopter landed, U.S. officials said. The incident is being investigated.

Elsewhere, coalition forces held off Taliban insurgents who fired 82 mm mortars that missed Firebase Anaconda, but impacted near the district center, not far from the coalition base. Afghan and U.S. troops used close-air support to repel the enemy. Ten insurgents, including a Taliban commander, were confirmed killed, officials said.

“The questionable tactics of the extremist Taliban leaders continued today,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “The indiscriminate firing by the enemies of peace and stability on areas populated with non-combatants highlights their ineptitude and explains why they absorb heavy casualties each time they attack this coalition firebase and its outposts.”

In other Afghanistan operations today, Afghan and coalition forces detained two men in Paktika province. Afghan and coalition forces also killed several suspected militants and wounded another during operations in Ghazni. Three men were detained. One detainee was wounded and treated on site. “Militants who engage our combined forces are fighting a losing battle,” Belcher said.

More than 12 insurgents were killed after a failed Taliban attack by more than 40 enemy fighters on Afghan army and coalition forces during a combat patrol in Kandahar province yesterday.

“The enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan have suffered a great number of similar blows this year, but they don’t seem to learn their lesson,” Belcher said. “Extremist Taliban fighters have been warned many times to give up fighting and become productive members of this society. Instead, they choose to attack (Afghan) troops and attempt to cause non-combatant injuries.”

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

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