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Afghan Forces Defeat Taliban in Eight-Hour Battle

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2007 – An eight-hour battle this morning in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province ended with another defeat of the Taliban by Afghan forces.

A combined force led by an element of 205th Afghan National Army Corps advised by coalition forces was on a combat patrol near a small village in the Meian Nashin district when more than 30 enemy fighters attacked from multiple compounds and fighting positions using small-arms fire.

The Afghan-led force repelled the attempted ambush with small-arms and crew-served-weapons fire. As the insurgents continued to reinforce their positions with additional fighters, the ground commander requested coalition close-air support. Aircraft destroyed multiple enemy positions with precision-guided munitions and also killed additional enemy insurgents in hilltop fighting positions with machine gun fire. The Afghan and coalition force counterattack caused the enemy to break and flee from the field of battle.

As the combined force followed the fleeing enemy, they again came under heavy fire from another group of extremist Taliban fighters reinforcing from the nearby Zabutu Valley. Coalition forces repelled this attack with additional air strikes and tactical movement. Over the course of the day, more than 20 insurgents were killed, and at least four were wounded.

“Our operations in the Kandahar province are having the desired effect of disrupting insurgent activities,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “It should be apparent to the enemies of peace and stability that they are no longer free to roam the Kandahar province inflicting mayhem and terror. The (Afghan national security force) and coalition will continue to work on enduring conditions that facilitate freely elected government and development.”

In operations last night, Afghan and coalition forces were engaged by enemy forces while continuing combat patrols designed to clear insurgents from Kandahar province.

Approximately 30 insurgents attacked the patrol from ridgeline fighting positions using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Afghan-led force repelled the attempted ambush with small-arms fire and crew-served weapons. Coalition aircraft still in the area from the previous fighting destroyed the enemy fighters with precision-guided munitions and machine gun fire directed at the hillside firing positions. The forces’ counterattack caused the enemy to break and flee from the area.

More than a dozen insurgents were killed during the four-hour battle last night.

“The extremist Taliban are inexplicably attacking Afghan national security forces during this operation in spite of the large losses they are incurring,” Belcher said. “As the ANSF and coalition forces continue to clear the Kandahar province of enemy fighters, residents should see a more peaceful and stable environment develop.”

In operations Sept. 5, a combined force was conducting a combat patrol near Anjir Shali village when they came under attack from Taliban fighters. More than 20 insurgents were killed in the fighting that followed, and one non-combatant was wounded.

Afghan police officers advised by coalition forces rescued and treated the man, Jar Mohammed, who was working at his farm when he heard nearby gunfire. According to his statement to the Afghan police, he went into his house to take his wife and three children away from the fighting. As the family was leaving their farm, he was shot in the right leg by insurgents. Mohammed was immediately treated by coalition medical personnel and evacuated to coalition medical facilities for further treatment.

Currently, Mohammed is in stable condition. He went through several surgeries as coalition doctors attempted to save his leg, but in the end they were forced to amputate the severely damaged limb.

“The insurgents have further demonstrated their intentions to harm innocent Afghan non-combatants and try to destroy Afghanistan,” said Belcher. “The ANSF and coalition are doing everything possible to prevent harm to non-combatants in all our operations. Unfortunately, the enemies of peace in this country do not follow this same practice. Our thoughts are with Mr. Mohammad and his family as he recovers from this heinous act carried out by the extremists.”

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

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