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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill 16 Enemy Fighters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2009 – U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan killed 16 enemy fighters in several operations yesterday, military officials reported.

In addition, forces captured two weapons smugglers March 6.

A combined Afghan and coalition force arrived at a targeted compound in Khowst province yesterday and was engaged by multiple armed militants using small-arms fire in a populated, urban area. The combined force returned fire, killing four militants and injuring one.

The injured militant was treated by a coalition medical team and was detained. Another militant who had fled the compound on foot was captured and detained, and three other militants were detained without incident.

A search revealed weapons, explosives and bomb-making materials, which were taken off the compound to prevent their use against Afghan citizens, Afghan security forces and coalition forces. Fourteen women and 26 children were protected during the operation.

In Kandahar province yesterday, a combined Afghan and coalition force conducted two operations to disable a mid-level Taliban commander responsible for conducting operations in the province’s Maywand district. Based on information provided by a local resident, forces targeted a compound where a militant was staying. When the force reached the compound, an enemy combatant engaged them and was killed. A search of the compound revealed multiple weapons and grenades, which were destroyed outside the compound, minimizing collateral damage.

At a second location, two armed militants were killed during combat operations. A search of the compound revealed weapons and grenades, which were destroyed a safe distance from people and structures. Eight women and 14 children were protected.

Also yesterday, forces led by Afghan National Police killed five armed extremists during a patrol in the Tarin Kowt district of Oruzgan province. The combined forces patrol was ambushed by small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire in a highly populated area. Taking into account the large number of innocent civilians nearby, the Afghan National Police used precisely controlled small-arms fire to suppress and ultimately defeat the five enemy combatants.

Following the engagement, the police officers secured the area and found a bomb on a well-traveled roadside near where the attack took place. The device, which officials said was designed as an indiscriminate “victim-activated” bomb, was destroyed in a controlled detonation. No civilian or security force casualties were reported.

In other news, the Afghan Border Police participated in a joint combat operation with coalition forces against a known militant compound in Khowst province yesterday. Four armed militants were killed when they attempted to kill members of the joint force, and five other suspected bomb makers were detained. The combined force found and confiscated weapons, explosives and bomb-making materials.

“Instigators stirred up a group of protestors complaining that Afghans were not involved in the incident and that innocent civilians were killed, but these were, indeed, armed militants as reported by the border policemen and coalition forces who were involved in the raid,” Army Col. Greg. Julian, a U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman, said.

On March 6, Afghan National Police, assisted by coalition forces, captured two enemy weapons facilitators during an early morning search of a compound in Ghazni province. The suspects are linked to weapons smuggling and supplying Taliban commanders with weapons and ammunition to facilitate attacks on Afghan security forces, officials said.

The police secured the area with no shots fired, and no police, coalition forces or noncombatants were injured in the operation.

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

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