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Coalition Kills Two Taliban Leaders in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2009 – Coalition forces killed 22 armed militants, including two Taliban leaders, and captured 11 in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Jan. 19, military officials reported.

In Kapisa province, coalition forces killed Taliban commander Mullah Patang and 18 other militants during an operation to disrupt the Taliban's terrorist network in the Tagab Valley, north of the city of Kabul. Patang carried out orders from senior Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and abroad, including numerous roadside bombings and direct attacks against civilians, Afghan officials and coalition forces throughout the region, officials said.

As coalition forces approached Patang’s compound, multiple armed militants came out of several buildings and engaged the force with small-arms fire. Coalition forces returned fire and used close-air precision munitions to stop them.

A search yielded more than 20 AK-47 assault rifles, multiple hand grenades and bandoliers of full magazines. The items were destroyed, and eight suspects were detained.

Coalition leaders are investigating Afghan news reports that civilians were killed in the operation.

In Kandahar, coalition forces killed a second Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Rahim Akund, and another armed militant while targeting the Taliban's roadside-bombing network, officials said. Akund was known for planning, coordinating and carrying out bombings throughout the province.

Despite coalition forces' efforts to peacefully empty the compound, the militants resisted and were killed. A search revealed a 105 mm artillery round that had the explosives removed, presumably to construct roadside bombs.

In Khowst province, Afghan and coalition forces netted a targeted Haqqani militant during a successful combined operation. The detained militant was believed to be in direct contact with senior Haqqani leaders outside of Afghanistan, coordinating activities aimed at destabilizing Afghanistan and harming civilians.

In Zabol province, coalition forces continued to apply pressure to the Taliban's roadside-bombing network, killing an armed militant and detaining two others. The operation in Jaldak district, northeast of Kandahar, targeted a Taliban militant believed to carry out bombings and attacks against coalition forces along Highway 1. The targeted militant also is believed to be in contact with multiple Taliban commanders in the region.

During the operation, an armed militant was shot and killed after he attempted to engage the force.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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