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Combined Forces Kill Insurgents, Save Civilians in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2008 – Afghan army commandos and their coalition partners killed four militants while simultaneously protecting nearly 90 civilians in an early morning operation today in western Afghanistan, military officials reported.

The combined forces were conducting a raid on a compound, targeting a Taliban commander in Farah province’s Dowlatabad village when they received fire from several enemy fighting positions. The combined forces quickly returned fire and also established a security perimeter to protect the civilians, who included 30 children, officials said.

The exchange of fire resulted in the deaths of four enemy fighters who local residents confirmed were Taliban militants.

During the search for more militants, commandos discovered a fully operational explosive device in a local mosque. Commandos removed the bomb and destroyed it. The detonation caused minor damage to the mosque’s exterior wall, for which the commandos provided compensation to village elders. The operation also uncovered numerous small arms weapons and bomb-making materials.

No Afghan, coalition or civilian casualties resulted from the operation, officials said.

In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan and coalition forces killed 10 militants near Highway 1 in the Nahr Surkh district of Helmand province yesterday. The forces were conducting a security patrol when they were attacked by militants with small-arms and machine-gun fire. They returned fire, killing the 10 militants.

During the engagement, an Afghan soldier was shot in the back. He was treated on site and transported to a nearby Coalition medical facility. No other Afghan or coalition forces or civilians were injured during the engagement, officials said.

Also yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces killed four armed militants and detained eight others yesterday during an operation in Kapisa province in which an Afghan woman and child were injured when the insurgents used them as human shields, officials said.

In the Tagab district, coalition forces provided medical care to the Afghan woman and child, whom the forces believe lived with the militants. The two were injured when one of the militants detonated a hand grenade. They are recovering at a military hospital, officials said.

The operation targeted the Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin terrorist network, which is known to plan and coordinate attacks against civilians and coalition forces, including an attack in August that killed 10 French soldiers, officials said.

As the force attempted to search the compound, they received a large volume of small-arms fire and hand grenades from militants barricaded in a section of the compound. Coalition forces responded with small-arms fire and killed them.

A search of the compound revealed multiple AK-47 assault rifles, hand grenades and other military equipment, which were destroyed to prevent future use. The force detained three suspected militants as a result of the operation.

In Khowst province, Afghan and coalition forces captured a targeted Haqqani terrorist network operative and five other suspects during a combined operation in the Mandozai district. The wanted man is a suspect in roadside and suicide bombings, officials said. Troops searched the compound without incident.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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