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Operations in Afghanistan Net Haqqani, Taliban Leaders

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2010 – Afghan and coalition security forces captured several Haqqani terrorist network and Taliban leaders in Afghanistan this week during 48 separate operations, military officials reported.

Clear rules of engagement and measures taken to avoid civilian casualties resulted in more than 85 percent of operations conducted without shots fired, officials said, noting that the Afghan-led operations resulted in a significant number of detainees and large number of insurgents killed.

Afghan and coalition security forces struck at the Taliban leadership in southern Helmand province this week, capturing two commanders in charge of Taliban operations in the province’s Germ Ser and Nawah-ye Barakzai districts. A senior Taliban commander and a Taliban bombing cell commander also were captured in Kandahar. Both were known to conduct bombing attacks in Kandahar City.

Afghan-led forces also conducted a deliberate clearing operation over several days aimed at disrupting the Haqqani network's freedom of movement in Paktia province’s Dzadran district. The area is known as a Haqqani safe haven used to stage attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul and the Khost-Gardez Pass, officials said. More than 20 insurgents were killed during the operation.

"We continue to aggressively pursue known enemies of the Afghan people," said Army Col. Rafael Torres, director of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command’s combined joint operations center. "The effective operations, which are carefully planned and executed to mitigate civilian casualties, will continue to create the time and space necessary for enduring governance and development initiatives to take root."

ISAF Joint Command officials provided details on several recent operations:

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in Helmand province yesterday while in pursuit of a Taliban commander and member of the Nawa Military Commission. The commander is responsible for decisions involving military operations and matters of governance within the Taliban-controlled areas of the Nawah-ye Barakzai district.

-- In Paktia province’s Gardez district yesterday, an Afghan and coalition security force captured a Haqqani facilitator who moved weapons, ammunition and bomb-making materials from Pakistan to fighters operating in Afghanistan.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in Khost province’s Manduzai district yesterday, including a Haqqani subcommander who supplies weapons to other Haqqani commanders operating in the area.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents and recovered an automatic grenade launcher in Kunduz province yesterday while in pursuit of a Taliban deputy commander for Chahar Darah district. The commander is known to plan attacks against Afghan civilians, as well as Afghan and coalition forces, and is known to teach local children how to make roadside bombs. During the search, an air weapons team was engaged by enemy fire from a grenade launcher. The air weapons team responded to the threat by engaging the position of origin, but the insurgents fled after they fired the launcher. The ground force later moved to the location and recovered the grenade launcher.

-- An ISAF helicopter crew engaged several insurgents who posed an imminent threat to an Afghan police patrol in Kunar province’s Nari district Aug. 11. During the engagement, a missile malfunctioned and hit the second story of a building, injuring two Afghan civilians. Coalition forces transported one civilian to a nearby ISAF medical facility for treatment, and the other wounded civilian was treated at a nearby forward operating base aid station and released. ISAF officials expressed regret for the incident and emphasized that coalition forces make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in Kunduz province’s Chahar Darah district Aug. 11 while in pursuit of a Taliban and Haqqani subcommander who facilitates weapons and bomb and rocket materials.

-- Afghan forces captured 18 suspected insurgents, rescued two civilian hostages and seized weapons and bomb-making materials in the Kandahar City’s Malajat district Aug. 9. The Afghan-led mission into the heavily contested district included several hours of heavy fighting. Afghan forces discovered large weapons caches and bomb-making materials.

-- Close-air support was called in to provide suppressing fire when ISAF forces conducting operations in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province came under heavy fire by insurgents yesterday. Later in the day, wounded and dead Afghan civilians were brought to a nearby checkpoint. The wounded were immediately evacuated to an ISAF medical facility. An ISAF-Afghan assessment team is investigating the possibility that ISAF forces caused civilian casualties.

-- An insurgent roadside bomb killed an Afghan boy in Logar province’s Pul-e Alam district Aug. 11. The child stepped on the bomb while he was herding sheep.

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