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British Forces Launch Helmand Province Operation

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2010 – British forces launched an operation to further squeeze insurgents in the central part of Afghanistan’s Helmand province July 31, military officials reported.

International Security Assistance Force Joint Command officials also released details about several other recent operations.

Operation Tor Shezada - Black Prince - was planned and is being executed by ISAF forces working with their Afghan counterparts. British troops will partner with Afghan forces to clear insurgents from Sayedebad to the south of Nad-e Ali in Helmand province, in operations similar to those conducted by U.S. Marine Corps in northern Marja earlier this year.

The operation is ongoing, British army Lt. Col. James Carr-Smith, Task Force Helmand spokesman, said, adding that commanders on the ground say it is progressing according to plan.

Although significantly smaller than previous operations in the area, Operation Tor Shezada will push insurgent fighters further from the population areas successfully cleared by previous elements of Operation Moshtarak, officials said. It follows the same pattern of “shape, clear, hold, build” that has characterized the wider operation, and shaping operations have been carried out in preparation for it, officials added.

As soon as conditions allow, ISAF officials said, the Afghan government will begin stabilization activities, including refurbishment of Sayedeba’s school and health clinic. The British-run provincial reconstruction team in Helmand will support this activity with projects of its own, including “cash for work” programs that employ local people to develop their own communities.

In other Afghanistan operations last night and today:

-- An Afghan and coalition security force continued to target Haqqani terrorist network insurgents operating in the Khost-Gardez Pass last night, this time focusing on a senior Haqqani commander who reportedly received about 120 roadside bombs for planned attacks during Afghanistan’s upcoming elections. The security force targeted a compound west of the village of Alu Kheyl to search for the commander. Afghan forces, acting on intelligence reports, quickly entered the compounds while coalition forces kept the area secured. After questioning on the scene, the security force detained the commander and other suspected insurgents. Afghan and coalition forces did not fire their weapons, and they protected the women and children throughout the search.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force killed several insurgents and detained two other suspected insurgents in Kunar province while in pursuit of a top Taliban commander with ties to senior al-Qaida leaders in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The commander is notorious for his multiple attacks against Afghan civilians, Afghan and coalition forces in Kunar province. The security force targeted a series of compounds in the province’s Marawarah district to search for the commander. At two of the compounds, several men showed hostile intent toward the security force, and the security force killed them. Follow-on questioning of the residents on the scene resulted in the detention of two suspected insurgents. The compounds weren’t damaged, and the security force protected women and children throughout the search.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several Taliban insurgents in Kandahar province, including a Taliban commander involved in bombing attacks against Afghan civilians, Afghan and coalition forces. The commander also was involved in the facilitation of weapons, munitions and bomb-making materials, officials said. The security force targeted a series of compounds in Kandahar’s Arghandab district after intelligence indicated the Taliban insurgents had forced their way into one of the compounds. After questioning all of the residents, the security force identified and detained the commander and his associates. The security force discovered multiple automatic weapons with magazines and chest racks at the scene. Afghan and coalition forces did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected insurgents in Helmand province while in pursuit of a Taliban military commander who also is believed to be a deputy commander of the Lashkar Gah district who commands more than 100 fighters. Afghan and coalition forces did not fire their weapons, and women and children were protected throughout the search.

-- Afghan soldiers, with support from their coalition partners, executed ground attacks on the towns of Bachancha and Badmuk today, clearing them of Taliban fighters and disrupting insurgent operations throughout the region. Initial reports indicate more than 30 insurgents were killed, and two Afghan soldiers were killed in action. The Afghan and coalition forces took deliberate steps to avoid hurting innocent civilians during the operation, officials said. The attacks are part of ongoing security operations that began July 25 with an Afghan army commando air assault on the village of Barg-e Matal.

In other recent operations, Afghan forces working with ISAF partners conducted an operation yesterday to recover a weapons cache in Ghazni province’s Jaghatu district. The combined force located about 45 recoilless rifle rounds and an 82 mm mortar round.

On July 31, Afghan soldiers partnered with U.S. special operations forces uncovered multiple weapons caches in eastern Zabul province.

The Afghan-led force went to several areas in the province’s Now Bahar district after intelligence information indicated insurgent activity and found three weapons caches, the largest of which was found in the district mosque. During the search, the combined force encountered sporadic small-arms and machine-gun fire from insurgents. An enemy was killed when the combined force returned fire.

The first cache discovered consisted of bomb-making materials and weapons buried in multiple locations throughout a compound. Afterward, on-scene questioning of a building owner resulted in Afghan police detaining and questioning a suspected Taliban leader.

As the search continued through a series of compounds, the partnered force found a second cache buried in a walled area consisting of bomb-making materials, weapons and load-bearing equipment.

About two hours after the initial clearing operations began, the largest cache of the day was discovered in the village mosque by Afghan forces who conducted the search. Coalition forces provided security outside the mosque while their Afghan counterparts searched inside.

The cache found in the mosque consisted of a rocket-propelled grenade, 100 rounds of machine-gun ammunition, 12 load-bearing military chest harnesses, about 40 pounds of homemade-explosive materials, 3,000 feet of detonation cord, two tactical vests, and various medical supplies and tactical clothing, including cold-weather gear and two tactical packs.

An Afghan and coalition security force killed several insurgents and captured a Haqqani Network commander in Paktia province yesterday. The commander was in charge of two insurgent cells that regularly carried out ambushes and mortar attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

The security force targeted a vehicle in the province’s Zormat district after they observed the commander putting an anti-aircraft machine gun in the vehicle. After ensuring no civilians were present, an air weapons team performed a precision strike on the vehicle.

A follow-on ground force inspected the area and found several insurgents were killed in the precision strike. The vehicle contained multiple automatic weapons, an anti-aircraft machine gun with 850 rounds of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, sniper ammunition and bomb-making materials. The security force detained the commander and an additional suspected insurgent and destroyed the vehicle and weapons at the scene.

The security force identified one of the dead insurgents as a former detainee taken during an operation in March.

An Afghan-led security force killed an insurgent during a deliberate clearing operation yesterday after intelligence indicated an enemy Kabul attack network was planning a double suicide bombing attack in Kabul City.

The combined force visited multiple areas outside the city after intelligence indicated insurgent activity. During the search, the combined security force was engaged by a man armed with an assault rifle, and the security force returned fire and killed him.

Also yesterday, Afghan soldiers led the clearance of several compounds in Musahi district outside Kabul, in partnership with coalition forces. This clearing operation followed several last month that were focused on interrupting insurgent attack planning against the July 20 Kabul International Conference, officials said. Six total operations in Kabul district resulted in five Taliban facilitators captured and an additional 10 insurgents either killed or detained.

While the conference was a success and no major insurgent attacks materialized, officials said, Afghan and coalition forces plan to continue putting the pressure on insurgents planning attacks in and around Kabul.

An Afghan and coalition security force detained one suspected insurgent in Khost province the night of July 31 in the continued search for a Haqqani terrorist network bomb-attack facilitator. This follows several successful operations against the network operating in the Khost-Gardez Pass this week, officials said, as Afghan and coalition forces killed at least a dozen insurgents, possibly including the top Haqqani network commander for the area, and captured seven Haqqani leaders during the operations. No civilians were hurt or wounded in these operations.

The security force targeted a series of compounds near the village of Sivakay in the province’s Khost district to search for the facilitator. After initial questioning, the suspected insurgent was detained. No shots were fired, and the force protected women and children who were present.

An Afghan and coalition security force in Khost detained a Haqqani facilitator and other suspected insurgents The night of July 30. No shots were fired, and women and children were protected throughout the search.

Also on the night of July 31, an Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected insurgents in Zabul province while in pursuit of the Taliban deputy commander for the province’s Shah Joy district.

Afghan and coalition forces targeted a compound outside the village of Walan Robat in pursuit of the commander, who reportedly leads more than 30 Taliban fighters. As they do in all similar operations, Afghan forces called out to the residents to come out of the targeted compound. The residents peacefully complied and were interviewed by the combined forces, and the two suspected insurgents were later detained for further questioning. No shots were fired, and women and children were protected throughout the search.

An Afghan-led security force detained several suspected insurgents and destroyed an active roadside bomb and three mortar rounds during a two-day clearing operation that ended July 31. The operation was aimed at disrupting the enemy in what historically had been a Taliban safe haven used to stage attacks into Kandahar City.

Afghan soldiers led the clearance of several compounds on the outskirts of Molla Dust village in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district in partnership with coalition forces.

In other news from Afghanistan, enemy actions continue to take a heavy civilian toll, ISAF officials said.

Five Afghan children were killed and an Afghan police officer was injured today when a suicide bomber using a vehicle-borne bomb tried to attack the governor of the Dand district in Kandahar province.

The attacker's device detonated before reaching its destination, causing the civilian casualties. A short time later, another device detonated nearby, but nobody was injured.

At least two civilians were killed and 11 others were wounded yesterday in a bombing attack in Kandahar’s Maiwand district. An ISAF patrol came across the victims after the strike and provided immediate medical assistance to the injured civilians, who then were transported to local medical facilities.

On July 31, a suicide attack killed a civilian leader and an Afghan police officer and wounded four more civilians at a sports field in Kunduz City in northern Afghanistan. The attack occurred at a sports field. The wounded civilians were taken to a nearby ISAF facility for treatment.

According confirmed coalition reports, officials said, insurgents have killed more than 590 innocent Afghan civilians and wounded more than 1,350 this year.

 

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