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Afghan Forces Thwart Attempted Taliban Ambush

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2007 – An element of 2nd Brigade, 205th Afghan National Army Corps, advised by coalition forces, surprised a large group of Taliban fighters planning an ambush near Wetob village in Zabul province, Afghanistan, today.

The Afghan-led force was on a combat patrol when they spotted and encountered a group of more than 20 insurgents. According to the ground force commander, the Taliban fighters were preparing fighting positions where they planned to conduct an ambush on the combined force.

The Afghan soldiers called in coalition close-air support to strike the insurgents before they could launch their attempted ambush. The coalition aircraft used precision-guided munitions and machine-gun fire to eliminate the insurgent threat, U.S. officials said. Nearly a dozen Taliban fighters were killed during the brief engagement. The Afghan forces reported that the surviving insurgents fled the area.

The combat patrol was taking part in an operation to rid northern Kandahar and southern Zabul provinces of insurgents. More than 245 extremist Taliban fighters have been killed in these two Afghan provinces since the Afghan and coalition operation began in late August.

“It appears that the enemies of peace and stability may be planning to use the holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to conduct violent acts against the innocent people of Afghanistan,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “Today’s failed ambush by the insurgents could be a prelude to their fighters attacking the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan forces throughout the Ramadan holiday. Coalition forces will make every effort to assist the (Afghan National Army) and (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) to provide increased security for all during the blessed month of Ramadan.”

In other operations today, several suspected militants were killed and eight were detained in an operation by Afghan and coalition forces. The suspected militants were shot and killed after they threatened the force in the Sangin district of Helmand province. A small weapons cache consisting of grenades and several AK-47s was found and destroyed.

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

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