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Forces Kill Insurgents, Capture Suspects in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2007 – Afghan forces, working in concert with coalition troops, killed more than a dozen insurgents, captured 11 suspects and seized a weapons cache in Afghanistan over the past two days, military officials said.

During operations today:

-- Coalition forces using small-arms fire and precision munitions killed several suspected militants in Helmand province. At the site of the action, troops found a vehicle containing rockets, AK-47 assault rifles, a heavy machine gun, boxes of ammo, rocket-propelled grenades and vests laden with ammunition magazines.

-- Afghan national security forces and coalition advisers captured nine Taliban insurgents west of Kandahar City early this morning. The combined force caught the suspects at two compounds in Senjary Village where tipsters told them a high-level insurgent leader, responsible for deadly improvised-explosive device attacks on coalition forces, was staked out.

-- Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected militants today in Zabul province. Credible intelligence led the combined force to the Shinkai District where they suspected Taliban-affiliated militants were hiding, military officials said.

Yesterday in Afghanistan, Afghan national auxiliary police and coalition advisers thwarted a powerful insurgent attack about five miles north of the Sangin District Center in Helmand province.

As the combined force patrolled neared Shalban Village in the Musa Qalah District, 12 Taliban fighters attacked from three sides with small arms, a heavy machine gun, mortars and rocket-propelled grenade fire.

Troops repelled the ambush, forcing the insurgent fighters to seek refuge in a nearby forest. Throughout the battle, insurgents reinforced their positions with additional fighters. Combined forces called in coalition close-air support to destroy the exposed insurgents.

The ground-force commander estimated that more than 40 insurgents participated in the foiled ambush and ensuing fight. A dozen enemy fighters were died in the engagement. No coalition troops, Afghan security members or civilians were reported injured or killed during the fighting.

“The enemies of peace and stability continue to use the holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to conduct violent acts against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “Our forces were on a routine patrol today in the Sangin area when they were attacked without warning.

“The (Afghan national auxiliary police) is growing in capability with each patrol,” he added, “and the coalition forces with which they work have noted a marked increase in their abilities.”

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

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