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Forces Kill Taliban Commander, Other Enemy Fighters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2009 – Afghan and NATO forces have removed dozens of insurgents from fighting in Afghanistan in recent days, including a long-sought-after Taliban commander, military officials reported.

Combined Afghan and International Security Assistance Force units killed at least two dozen insurgents during fighting in southern and eastern Afghanistan and detained numerous others. In operations yesterday:

-- A combined force killed a dozen enemy militants in Kandahar province in an operation to interdict a Taliban commander and his unit believed to be responsible for attacks in the Arghandab district west of Kandahar City. The force coordinated an air strike on the enemy position. During the search, several of the dead were discovered armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition belts and communications gear. All items were destroyed in place.

-- A combined force killed several militants and detained several suspects in Khowst province after searching compounds in pursuit of a Haqqani terrorist organization leader linked to a bomb-making and foreign-fighter facilitation network in the area. The force searched two compounds north of Khowst City. Militants outside of one of the compounds posed a hostile threat to the combined force and were killed. During the search, the joint security force discovered multiple hand grenades and assault rifles.

- Combined forces killed several militants in Ghazni province after searching an enemy position in pursuit of a district Taliban commander linked to several other militant commanders and foreign fighters in the area. The force received hostile fire during the operation from an enemy position. Returning fire, they killed several militants. The force then searched the enemy location and found multiple rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and ammunition belts. All items were destroyed in place.

- In Wardak province, a combined force detained two suspects after searching a compound known to be used by a Taliban commander. The joint force searched compounds southwest of Kabul without incident and without firing shots.

- A combined force detained suspected militants after searching compounds in Khowst province known to be used by a Haqqani bomb technician linked to several militant commanders in the area. The force searched the compounds without incident.

In an Oct. 24 operation, a combined force searched a compound and detained several suspected militants believed to be members of a bombing network in Farah province. The suspects surrendered peacefully during the search and no shots were fired.

In operations Oct. 22:

- A combined force killed a dozen militants and detained several suspects in Kandahar province after stopping a number of vehicles in pursuit of a Taliban commander of the province’s Maywand district. The force initially targeted a number of vehicles in transit across southern Maywand after intelligence indicated militant activity. Several militants were killed after they failed to respond to warnings, and others were detained. Subsequently, the combined force received hostile fire from militants in multiple vehicles maneuvering in their direction. The force returned fire, killing another group of militants. The force searched each of the vehicles and recovered a number of small-arms weapons, documents and 2,600 pounds of black-tar heroin. The force identified one of the dead as the sought-after Taliban commander of Maywand.

-- A combined force detained several suspected militants after searching compounds in Wardak province known to be used by a Taliban commander and his unit responsible for several rocket and bombing attacks in the region. The force targeted the compounds near the village of Patankhel in the Sayed Abad district after intelligence indicated militant activity there. The force searched the compound without incident and detained several suspects. No shots were fired, and no one was injured in the search.

In other news from Afghanistan, international forces have responded to accusations that a U.S. servicemember burned the Quran last week in Wardak province’s Maydan Shar district.

In response to the accusations, ISAF troops conducted an investigation in conjunction with local Afghan army commanders and found the claim groundless.

A spokesman for Wardak Gov. Mohammad Alim Fadayee, and Mullah Qari of the Afghan army in Wardak, publicly stated that ISAF troops were not responsible for the desecration and found no wrongdoing by international forces.

In his public address, Mullah Qari provided the results of the investigation into the incident and offered an explanation.

“Dear brothers, recently, the incident of burning of the Quran that happened in Kowte Ashrow, it was the actions of the enemies of Afghanistan and Islam for their private purposes,” Qari said. “The enemies of Afghanistan are trying to make people go against the government in order to start riots.”

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

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