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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill 38 Militants in Helmand Province

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2008 – Afghan and coalition forces killed 38 militants Saturday in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, military officials reported.

Afghan and coalition forces were conducting a combat reconnaissance patrol in the Nahr Surkh district when they identified armed militants operating in the area. The combined forces engaged the militants with direct and supporting fires, killing 38 and destroying two of their vehicles.

One militant was wounded, treated and taken into custody by Afghan forces. The combined forces confiscated an 82 mm recoilless rifle, a machine gun and several AK-47s from the site.

Also Saturday, the coalition killed five militants and detained 18 during operations aimed at dismantling the al-Qaida and Haqqani foreign fighter networks in eastern Afghanistan.

In Zurmat district, troops detained an al-Qaida terrorist known to finance militant operations and to assist Taliban leaders with the movement and training of Arab and foreign fighters into Afghanistan. The al-Qaida associate was detained during one of several operations targeting the network in Paktia province.

Those operations resulted in five armed militants killed and eight militants detained. Searches conducted during the operations revealed rocket-propelled grenades, several dozen hand grenades, multiple AK-47s and other military equipment. These items were destroyed to prevent future use.

In Khowst province, Afghan and coalition forces netted a Haqqani militant also known to facilitate the movement of foreign fighters into Afghanistan. During the combined operation, the force discovered 10 additional men believed to be militants and seeking safe haven as they moved into Terezai district to conduct attacks. The combined force also found multiple hand grenades and other military style equipment in the compound.

Also Saturday, Afghan National Army Commandos of the 205th Commando Kandak and coalition forces destroyed an insurgent drug processing and distribution facility after engaging enemies in the Spin Buldak district, Kandahar province.

The combined forces discovered the remote facility after receiving reports of illegal activity in the area. Four insurgents fired on the troops with small arms as they approached the compound. The troops returned fire, killing the insurgents.

The facility contained one ton of narcotics, several 55-gallon drums filled with drug processing chemicals and other drug processing equipment. All of the contents were destroyed on site.

(From U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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