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Forces Detain Taliban Commander, Cell Leader

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2010 – Security forces detained several suspects, including a Taliban commander and terrorist bombing cell leader, during operations over the past several days in Afghanistan, military officials reported.

In an operation reported today, a combined Afghan and international security force detained two suspected insurgents after stopping a vehicle during the pursuit of a Taliban sub-commander responsible for bombing attacks in Zabul province.

In operations yesterday:

-- A force operating in Helmand province encountered an undisclosed number of insurgents and requested close-air support. Supporting aircraft dropped a 2,400-pound bomb on the area and suppressed the insurgent gunfire.

-- A force searched a compound and detained a pair of suspected militants while searching for a Taliban bombing cell leader in Zabul province.

-- A combined force had a grenade thrown at them as they searched a compound in Ghazni province. The force returned fire, killing the insurgent. During the operation, Afghan members of the team searched a local mosque and found a pair of insurgents. The force also captured a Taliban commander responsible for planning and conducting attacks against coalition forces and found multiple grenades.

-- A security force searched a compound and captured a Taliban operator who is responsible for planning suicide and convoy attacks against coalition forces in Logar province.

-- A patrol discovered 1,400 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a chemical commonly used in homemade bombs, after searching a building in Helmand province. The combined force detained the building owner, and destroyed the fertilizer.

-- A security force searched a compound in a rural area in Kandahar province while in pursuit of a Taliban sub-commander and detained a pair of suspected militants.

-- A combined force searched a compound in Khost province where they captured an undisclosed number of insurgents. The force also pursued a group of militants who fled from the compound. After the insurgents engaged the force with small-arms fire, the force returned fire and killed three of them. The force found a large cache of weapons, including multiple automatic rifles, hand grenades, mortar charges, rocket-propelled grenades and plastic explosives.

-- Two suspects were detained after a combined force searched a compound in Nangarhar province.

-- A security force searched a compound in Wardak province where they captured a Taliban operator suspected of buying and placing explosives.

-- A force searched a compound in Kandahar and captured a Taliban operator believed to buy and distribute weapons and ammunition for militant networks. The joint force detained other insurgents during the search. The force also found a large inventory of foreign military equipment, including uniforms.

-- An Afghan civilian delivered 87 mortar rounds to a provincial reconstruction team in Herat province. Since Oct. 1, more than 150 Afghans have received cash rewards for turning in weapons or for providing tips leading to the recovery of weapons.

In operations Jan. 16:

-- An operation in Kandahar province uncovered 3,500 pounds of marijuana and opium, as well as about $48,000 worth of Pakistani rupees and $4,000 in Afghan currency. In the course of the operation, a combined air assault and direct-fire engagement, 10 insurgents were killed.

-- A security force detained a suspected militant while searching for a Taliban operator in Ghazni province

-- A combined force detained an undisclosed number of suspected militants while searching for a Taliban weapons operator in a series of buildings in Wardak province.

-- A force detained a suspected militant while searching for a Taliban commander in Zabul province.

-- A patrol discovered bomb-making materials and illegal narcotics while searching a series of compounds in Helmand province. The discovery netted numerous bomb-making materials including pressure plates, blasting caps, ball bearings, small-arms ammunition and a chemistry set. The force also discovered more than 2 pounds of marijuana and opium paraphernalia. Six men were detained.

-- Forces discovered a weapons cache consisting of seven mines and three bombs in Kunduz province.

-- An insurgent group was observed planting bombs in Paktika province. A joint security force called in an air strike and killed three militants, including a terrorist cell commander. The force then moved to the site and captured other insurgents. One militant was wounded by the strike and was medically evacuated. Multiple weapons, including bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, automatic rifles and hand grenades were recovered.

-- A security force discovered a cache containing a small quantity of rocket-propelled grenades, small-arms ammunition and five anti-tank mines in Ghazni province. The weapons were destroyed.

In operations Jan. 15:

-- Forces raided three compounds of a senior explosives operator and Taliban commander in Helmand province. While Afghan forces were clearing the first compound, three insurgents were positively identified outside of the compound. Afghan forces engaged the group of insurgents, killing one and detaining two. The force protected the nine women and 18 children in the compounds.

-- Combined forces conducted an overnight operation in Helmand province. An initial assessment of the operation showed 11 insurgents killed. A sizeable amount of black tar opium and a small cache of weapons and bomb-making materials were among the group.

-- Forces operating in Helmand province engaged a number of insurgents from two firing positions. The joint operation called in air support and a missile was fired at the insurgents’ position.

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

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