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Villagers Help Forces Rid Areas of Insurgent Weapons

American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Jan. 29, 2008 – Villagers in Afghanistan have helped coalition and Afghan security forces recover numerous weapons caches over the last two months, military officials reported.

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Villagers reported a weapons cache consisting of 30 rocket-propelled grenades and five anti-personnel mines Jan. 27, 2008, in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. U.S. Army photo

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By telling their nation’s security forces where weapons are hidden or turning them in to government authorities, the citizens are fulfilling a civic responsibility and showing that they’re tired of insurgent activity in their region, said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman.

In Bonta, located in the Dara Noor district in the northernmost section of Nangarhar province, villagers reported a weapons cache consisting of 30 rocket-propelled grenades and five anti-personnel mines Jan. 27. A week earlier in Trelay, in the Achin district on the Pakistan border, citizen reports led to an insurgent stash of 20 anti-personnel mines.

In Deh Bala district, which also borders Pakistan, villagers found and reported a cache of five anti-tank mines, 20 120 mm mortar rounds, five 82 mm mortar rounds and three 82 mm recoilless rifle rounds Jan. 14. The same day, a combined force recovered nine blocks of TNT, 22 fuses and a Chinese-made projectile in the Jalalabad district in the northern part of the province. A cache recovered Jan. 16 in Khogyani district consisted of 68 82 mm and 25 75 mm recoilless rifle rounds.

In December, villagers in nearby Paktya province turned in more than 700 weapons and munitions, including 247 rocket-propelled grenades and three launchers, 99 hand grenades, 124 anti-personnel mines, 11 82 mm recoilless rifle rounds, 14 82 mm mortars, 10 anti-tank mines, 200 anti-tank mine fuses, three remote-controlled improvised explosive devices, four Kalashnikov machine guns, and two RPD machine guns.

Insurgents frequently use these weapons to attack Afghan or coalition forces or to terrorize Afghan citizens throughout the province, Belcher said. “Recovering these weapons will enhance security,” he added.

(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)

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Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 82
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Click photo for screen-resolution imageReports from citizens near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan led to a weapons cache containing 20 anti-personnel mines. U.S. Army photo  
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