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Forces Disrupt Terrorist, Drug Havens in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2009 – Afghan and international security forces have disrupted several terrorist networks in Afghanistan, including a major drug operation, in recent days, military officials reported.

In operations today and yesterday:

-- A security force killed more than a dozen insurgents and detained a suspect after searching a mountainside compound in Kunar province known to be used by an al-Qaida commander and his element believed to be responsible for trafficking foreign fighters and conducting numerous attacks in Pech Valley. During the search of the compound northeast of Jalalabad, the force twice received and returned enemy fire, killing the militants. The force also found rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, and assault rifles.

-- In the Ziruk district of Paktika province, a force detained several insurgents after searching a compound known to be used by a Haqqani terrorist organization leader and his element, believed to be responsible for financing and supplying weapons to other militants in the region. The force also found and destroyed several grenades and a cache of small-arms ammunition.

-- Security forces killed and detained several enemy militants during a search in Zabul province’s Shahjoy district in pursuit of a Taliban commander and his element believed to be responsible for attacks in the region. During the search, forces stopped a vehicle reportedly associated with militant activity. The suspects did not comply with commands the joint force issued, moved with hostile intent against the force and were killed. Subsequently, forces found the vehicle was carrying an improvised explosive device, IED components, rifles, hand grenades and ammunition belts with multiple magazines. All material found was destroyed in place. Forces searched another vehicle and detained several suspected militants.

-- In Kandahar province, forces detained several suspected militants after searching a series of buildings known to be used by a Taliban leader and his element believed to be responsible for financing and supplying weapons and fighters to other Taliban elements in the region.

-- In Wardak province, forces detained several militants after searching a compound known to be used by a Taliban commander and a group believed to be responsible for numerous small-arms and IED attacks across the region.

--- Joint forces detained several suspected militants in Logar province’s Pul-e Alam district during an operation to disrupt a militant cell believed to be responsible for making IEDs.

On Oct. 11 and 12, a security force killed and detained several suspected militants in three operations:

-- In Helmand province, forces detained a suspected militant commander and several suspected militants linked to the narcotics industry in Nahri Sarraj district. Haji Khan Mohammed is considered a senior power broker in the district, and officials believe his drug operations provided financial support to enemy fighters throughout southern Afghanistan. During the operation, forces received machine-gun fire from militants shooting from multiple compounds. The forces moved the fighting away from the compounds and detained the militants. A weapons cache consisting of 40 rocket-propelled grenades, several thousand machine-gun rounds, several five-gallon jugs used in constructing homemade explosives for roadside bombs, three assault rifles and 20 mortar rounds was destroyed on site by controlled detonation.

-- Security forces killed several militants during an operation in Qalat district of Zabul province, in an effort to disrupt a Taliban element believed responsible for several attacks in the region. Forces found and destroyed an RPG, an assault rifle with ammunition, a pistol, a grenade, an ammunition belt and communications gear.

-- In Kandahar province, forces detained a suspected militant in a compound known to be used by a Taliban leader and his element responsible for supplying IEDs, weapons and ammunition to other militant groups in the region.

In other news from Afghanistan, one of the largest drug and weapons discoveries this year netted 220 pounds of heroin, 3,970 pounds of opium and nearly 55 tons of opium seeds at a morphine-processing lab during an Oct. 6 search in the Kajaki district of Helmand province.

Forces killed multiple enemy fighters and detained several suspected militants in the raid. The Afghanistan Narcotics Interdiction Unit, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI assisted the military force, which also found a large cache of weapons and explosives. All drugs were destroyed on site, and weapons were either positioned for safe disposal or destroyed on location.

(Compiled from NATO International Security Assistance Force news releases.)

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