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Coalition, Afghan Forces Kill 40 Taliban Fighters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2007 – Coalition and Afghan forces teamed up to kill about 40 Taliban extremists and capture three others during two separate operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand and Ghazni provinces today, officials said.

The combined force used precision munitions to kill many of the 40 Taliban fighters who died during the operation in Helmand province, officials said. A search of the area revealed multiple weapons caches, including more than 20 rocket-propelled grenades, large amounts of ammunition and land mines. One building containing munitions was suspected of being an improvised holding cell.

“This was one of the largest caches of weapons found to date,” said Army Maj. Christopher Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “Several rooms were found filled with small arms, explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and large-caliber ammunition.”

In a separate operation in the Dih Yak district of Ghazni province today, Afghan and coalition forces routed a group of militants and destroyed their equipment. The militants fled via underground tunnels. The tunnels were destroyed by precision-guided munitions. Three suspected militants were detained.

In other recent Afghanistan operations, Afghan and coalition forces thwarted an attempted Taliban ambush during a combat patrol near Kakrak village, in western Uruzgan province, Sept. 19. The combined patrol was northeast of Deh Rawood when the troops saw a dozen insurgents preparing to ambush them. The Afghan-led patrol attacked the Taliban with small-arms fire. More than 50 additional Taliban fighters joined the fight and struck the patrol with small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars from multiple compounds within Kakrak village.

Close-air support was called in to pound the Taliban positions, and more than three dozen Taliban were killed during the 14-hour battle.

“The coalition will not sit idly by and allow the enemies of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan continue to seek safe haven in the Uruzgan province,” Belcher said. “We believe that the extremist Taliban will continue to use the unconscionable tactic of attacking the (government) and coalition forces from areas that contain a large number of non-combatants. We will continue to do our utmost to avoid civilian casualties but, in the end, it is the enemies of peace and stability who must be held accountable for their efforts to endanger the lives and future of the Afghan people.”

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

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