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Coalition, Afghan Troops Kill Militants, Capture Suspects

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces killed numerous enemy fighters, captured terrorism suspects and repelled two attacks against bases in recent days, military officials reported.

Coalition and Afghan forces killed five militants and detained 10 suspects -- including a targeted Haqqani terrorist group militant and a Taliban subcommander -- during multiple operations in Afghanistan’s Khowst and Zabul provinces yesterday.

Afghan and coalition forces netted the Haqqani leader during a combined operation in the Sabari district of Khowst province that left five armed militants dead and seven suspects detained.

As the combined force approached the targeted man's compound, several armed militants came out of the buildings and attacked the force with small-arms fire and hand grenades. The combined force returned fire, called in close-air support, and killed five armed militants. A search revealed several hand grenades and assault rifles, pistols and bomb-making materials.

An operation in Zabul province’s Qalat district yesterday resulted in the capture of a Taliban subcommander known for weapons trafficking and planning attacks against coalition forces along Highway 1, the major north-south road connecting Kandahar to Kabul.

Coalition forces searched the targeted compound without incident and detained the subcommander and two other suspected militants while protecting nine women and 20 children.

In earlier operations:

-- Coalition forces killed eight armed Taliban militants and detained one suspect in Zabul province’s Arghandad district Dec. 31. The operation targeted a Taliban subcommander wanted for his ties to a bombing network along Highway 1 and recent attacks against coalition forces. He also is believed to help foreign fighters enter the region. Coalition forces killed six militants who refused to leave the targeted compound, where a subsequent search revealed assault rifles, pistols and hand grenades. As coalition forces left the targeted building, armed militants moving along a nearby ridge attempted to engage them. The forces called in close-air support, and two armed militants were killed.

-- Afghan National police and coalition forces killed three insurgents who tried to attack a forward operating base in the Nahr Surkh district of Helmand province Dec. 31.

-- Afghan security guards thwarted a daytime insurgent attack on Shindand Airfield in western Afghanistan’s Herat province Dec. 29. Afghan National Police officers detained four insurgents for questioning. One insurgent who was wounded during the operation received medical care from a coalition medic, but died of his wounds. An Afghan National Army cleric took possession of the body to ensure an appropriate burial in accordance with Islamic religious customs.

-- Afghan commandos and coalition forces killed an insurgent and detained five others during a Dec. 28 operation in Sanowghan in Herat province. The combined forces safeguarded two men, 12 women and 18 children during the operation. The insurgent killed had fired upon the commandos as they approached, and the commandos responded with small-arms fire. After the engagement, the combined forces met with village elders to discuss the reasons for the operation.

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

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