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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill Dozens of Enemy Fighters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces killed dozens of enemy fighters today in Afghanistan’s Helmand, Kandahar and Ghazni provinces.

One civilian was injured in the Helmand engagement, shot in the leg while attempting to flee his village. He was taken to a coalition medical facility for treatment. No other injuries from today’s engagements to Afghan police, military personnel or civilians or to coalition forces were reported.

In the Helmand province engagement, Afghan National Auxiliary Police officers, advised by coalition forces, defeated an attempted Taliban ambush west of the Musa Qalah wadi. The combined force was conducting a combat patrol near Anjir Shali Village, about 10 and a half miles northwest of Sangin District Center, when it came under attack from a squad-size element of extremist Taliban.

The insurgents attacked the patrol with small arms, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades from several buildings within the village limits. The patrol noted many of the village’s residents had fled prior to the attempted ambush. The ANAP-led force immediately returned fire with accurate small-arms fire and crew-served weapons.

The enemy force reinforced their positions with additional fighters and also started firing from an extensive trench line located throughout the village. As they continued attacking the combined force from the buildings with machine-gun fire, the ground force commander called in coalition close-air support. Coalition aircraft conducted strikes on the positively identified enemy positions using precision-guided munitions. More than two dozen Taliban insurgents were killed in the fighting.

“The citizens in Helmand province witness firsthand the atrocities that are caused by the extremist Taliban who live among them,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Foirce 82 spokesman. “The only way to end the senseless killing of non-combatants by the insurgent is for the Afghan people to work with the government forces and turn in all members of the insurgency.”

In Kandahar province, a combined force of Afghan National Civil Order Police and coalition forces was on a combat patrol near Alekowzi Village in the Sha Wali Kot district when they began taking small-arms and machine-gun fire from about 10 enemy fighters. Within 20 minutes of the battle starting, the combined force was further engaged by an estimated 20 rocket-propelled grenades fired from the nearby Hutak Village.

The extremist fighters were seen firing on the patrol from compounds located within the villages. Throughout the engagement, insurgents reinforced their positions with an estimated 150 additional fighters.

The ANCOP-led force repelled the attack using small arms and crew-served weapons, and later called in Coalition close air support. Coalition aircraft destroyed the positively identified enemy firing positions with precision-guided munitions.

More than 40 insurgents were killed in the engagement.

“Today’s successful effort by the Afghan National Civil Order Police is another example of the growing capability of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s security forces,” Belcher said. “The ANCOP is following in the footsteps of the other Afghan elite security forces as they begin to chart their own course in defeating the insurgency. The enemies of peace and stability will not be left unchecked in Kandahar province or any other province within the territorial borders of this country.”

In the Ghazni province engagement, militants fired upon a combined Afghan and coalition force using small arms, grenades and rocket-propelled grenades. The combined force returned fire and employed precision munitions, resulting in the deaths of several militants and significant damage to the compound. A militant wearing an ammunition vest and carrying a weapon fled the area; coalition forces pursued and killed him.

In operations yesterday, two attempted insurgent ambushes failed as Afghan national security forces advised by coalition forces repelled and killed nearly two dozen enemy fighters in separate battles in northern Kandahar province.

These attacks came on the heels of a failed attack the night before that saw more than a dozen insurgents killed in the same district of Afghanistan. Yesterday’s failed ambushes occurred a little more than 30 kilometers apart.

In the first engagement, a combined force of Afghan and coalition forces was on a combat patrol in the Sha Wali Kot district when they spotted 20 to 25 insurgents in fighting positions and an unknown number of fighters taking up positions in a compound. The insurgents attacked the patrol with small arms and machine guns and continued to reinforce their positions throughout the daylong battle.

The Afghan-led force repelled the attack using small arms, crew-served weapons and coalition close-air support.

More than a dozen insurgents were killed in this engagement, and one Afghan soldier was wounded. No other Afghan or coalition troops or non-combatants were reported injured or killed.

In the second engagement, a combined force of Afghan and coalition forces were conducting a separate combat patrol in the same district when they came under small-arms fire from more than a dozen insurgents. The insurgents attacked from compounds located within the village.

The Afghan patrol returned fire with small arms and crew-served weapons and called for coalition close-air support. Prior to engaging the insurgents with aircraft, the combined force utilized their loudspeaker system and notified the villagers to leave the area because an attack was imminent.

Afghan police officers spoke with the village elders as they left and confirmed that all of the non-combatants had evacuated. Coalition aircraft then engaged and destroyed the two buildings that the insurgents were using as fighting positions.

Six insurgents were killed, and two were wounded in this engagement. In addition, one coalition servicemember was wounded during the battle. No other Afghan or coalition troops or non-combatants were reported wounded or killed in the fighting.

“The Afghan National Army is proving day after day that they are highly capable of finding and destroying the enemies of Afghanistan,” Belcher said. “Even when the insurgents have had time to fortify their positions, the ANA are determined to overcome the enemy obstacles. Let there be no doubt, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, along with coalition forces, will continue to hunt, fight and defeat the enemies of peace and stability.”

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

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