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Forces Reposition From Afghan Outposts, Target Insurgents

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2009 – NATO’s International Security Assistance Forces have completed their repositioning from two combat outposts in Nuristan province to other areas in eastern Afghanistan, military officials reported.

Militants attacked the two outposts – Keating and Fritsche – in the Kamdesh district Oct. 3 from multiple firing positions in the steep valley. ISAF forces on the ground, assisted by close-air support and attack helicopters, fought the militants, ultimately securing the outposts and killing an estimated 100 insurgents during the battle, officials said.

Despite Taliban claims, the movement of troops and equipment from the outposts are a part of a previously scheduled transfer. The remote outposts were established as part of a previous security strategy to stop or prevent the flow of militants into the region.

In line with the counterinsurgency guidance of Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, ISAF commander, ISAF leaders decided last month to reposition forces to population centers within the region, officials said. Commanders developed plans for the repositioning. However, as in every conflict, timelines may shift to accommodate conditions on the ground and developing security priorities.

Commanders have not discussed specific movements before their completion to ensure the security of ISAF and Afghan forces as well as Afghan civilians in affected areas.

In other news, Afghan and international forces disrupted several insurgent strongholds in three different regions of Afghanistan today, military officials reported.

The forces detained multiple enemy fighters during operations in Herat, Wardak and Kandahar provinces today and several insurgents were killed in the fighting.

In the Guzara district of Herat province in the west, joint forces conducted an operation overnight to search a compound known to be used by an insurgent leader responsible for roadside bomb attacks against ISAF and Afghan forces in the area and kidnapping Afghan civilians.

As the joint force approached the area, a large group of insurgents engaged the force with intense small-arms and rocket-propelled-grenade fire. Attack helicopters supporting the joint force engaged the militants, killing a number of them.

The force discovered rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, ammunition, grenades and chest racks at the compound and destroyed them in place.

No international security forces or Afghan forces were killed, and the forces do not believe any civilians were injured in the operation.

In the Chaki Wardak district in the east, joint forces searched a compound known to be used by a Taliban fighter and his element responsible for attacks in the region.

Enemy militants fired at the joint force from one of the buildings. The force returned fire, then issued several verbal commands to the militants to exit the building. The militants, posing a hostile threat, remained noncompliant. The joint force entered the building and killed several militants.

The forces searched the building and uncovered RPG launchers and rockets, machine guns, AK-47 rifles, several fragmentation grenades, a cache of ammunition and communications equipment. All weapons and ammunition were destroyed in place.

In Kandahar City in the south, a joint force detained several insurgents after searching a hotel without incident. The hotel is known to be used by a Taliban leader and his element responsible for recruiting, training and deploying suicide bombers against Afghan civilians and infrastructure in the region.

No Afghan civilians were harmed during these operations.

(Compiled from NATO International Security Assistance Force and Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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