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Forces Clear Taliban From Northern Afghan Province

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2009 – More than 750 Afghan and international forces in recent days completed the largest operation to date in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, clearing the northern border area of hundreds of insurgent fighters, military officials reported.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Afghan soldiers hand out supplies to Afghans who had been evicted from their villages by Taliban fighters in Konduz, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2009. Supplies included new shoes, blankets, clothes, tea, food, and other items to aid the local Afghans through the winter months. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Baker
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The combined forces conducted operations Nov. 1 through 6 in the province’s northern region bordering Turkmenistan, killing more than 130 insurgents, including eight Taliban commanders. The operations, designed to stop insurgent activity and weapons trafficking in the Chahar Dara district, also disrupted the province’s insurgent shadow governor.

The Afghan-international force provided humanitarian supplies to the affected villages after the operation. Six trucks delivered warm clothing and food, including staple items such as cooking oil, rice and beans.

Kunduz Gov. Mohammad Omar praised the accuracy of International Security Assistance Force air strikes against the insurgents while avoiding civilians.

"It is the largest operation I've ever seen in Kunduz," the governor said. "You've got the Taliban running all over the place. Overall, I think this operation is wonderful."

Military officials will continue to meet with village elders to ensure the area remains secure after combat operations.

"People of Kunduz are very appreciative that international forces and Afghan national security forces are working together to better Afghanistan," Omar said. "Taliban in the area are on the run, and we have shown them that they cannot control the area."

No Afghan or international personnel were killed, and no civilians were injured during the operations.

In other news from Afghanistan, an Afghan-international security force killed an enemy militant and detained several suspects in the southern province of Kandahar yesterday while pursuing a senior Taliban commander in charge of local and foreign fighters in the area.

The combined force targeted a vehicle in the Khakriz district after intelligence indicated militant activity. The force killed one insurgent, detained several suspects and recovered nine 50-pound containers of homemade explosives, an assault rifle and ammunition. All of the explosives were destroyed safely, and no civilians were injured during the operation.

A combined force detained several suspected militants in Kandahar province after searching buildings known to be used by a Taliban district commander responsible for several attacks and linked to senior Taliban leadership in the area.

The force targeted the buildings on the east side of Kandahar City after intelligence indicated militant activity there, searched the buildings without incident and detained the suspects. No shots were fired, and no civilians were injured.

Meanwhile, search operations continue for two U.S. paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, missing since Nov. 4 in western Afghanistan.

"ISAF personnel will endeavor to ensure no servicemember, regardless of nationality, is left behind," said Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, ISAF Joint Command spokeswoman. "Our search operations continue in earnest, and our thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families.”

Further information is being withheld while search and rescue operations continue and while the incident is under investigation.

Elsewhere, a combined force killed several enemy militants and detained a group of suspects in Kandahar province Nov. 7 while pursuing a Taliban operative suspected of being responsible for targeting Afghan civilians and providing improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers to other militants in the area.

The force’s convoy was in transit when enemy militants attempted to hit it with an IED strike. The force immediately located the enemy position and returned fire, killing the enemy militants. A security element with the force pursued and detained the group who were seen leaving the enemy's location. The force searched the enemy position and recovered IED materials, an assault rifle, chest racks and assault-rifle ammunition magazines. No civilians were harmed.

A combined force killed an enemy militant and detained several suspects in the southeast province of Zabul. One of the detained is believed to be a Taliban bomber operating out of Qalat City and responsible for financing militant activities and the transport of IED materials and weapons into the area.

The force targeted a compound on the west side of Qalat City that intelligence reports identified as a location used by Taliban commanders.

Since the compound was close to an Afghan police station, the force coordinated with the police chief to accompany and assist with the operation. When the police chief called for occupants to exit the compound, the force received hostile fire and returned fire, killing one militant.

The force searched the compound and detained the suspects, one of whom surrendered and identified himself as the Taliban bomb coordinator. He was found hiding in a building later discovered to be a Red Cross office on the compound. Further questioning of the Taliban facilitator revealed he is relative of a local Red Cross employee.

In a separate operation, another combined force detained several suspected militants in Khowst province, one of whom was a sought-after Haqqani terrorist leader responsible for the financial and logistical support of militant activities in the area.

The force targeted compounds in the Sabari district after intelligence indicated militant activity there, searched the compounds without incident, and detained six suspects, one of whom was identified as the Haqqani suspect. No shots were fired, and no one was injured.

In another operation, a combined force detained suspected militants in Logar province after searching a compound known to be used by a Haqqani financier with numerous ties to militant elements in the area.

The combined force targeted the compound in the Baraki Barak district after intelligence indicated militant activity there. The force searched the compound without incident and detained the suspects. No shots were fired, and no one was injured.

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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