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Afghan, Coalition Troops Find Insurgent Weapons Factory

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2010 – An Afghan and coalition force conducting a dismounted patrol today discovered an insurgent weapons factory in Sangin district, Helmand province, military officials reported.

The combined force discovered a building that contained six 55-pound barrels of homemade explosives, scales, a boiler room, and a drying room. After cataloguing and taking pictures of the weapons materials, the force determined the best way to destroy the materials was to conduct a precision artillery strike.

The Afghan and coalition forces verified that no civilians were in the area and cordoned off a safety zone approximately 300 meters from the factory. The forces maintained control of the area until three rockets hit the factory, destroying it and its contents in place.

In other Afghanistan news today:

-- An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Haqqani Network facilitator who coordinated improvised explosive device supplies and conducted IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, during an operation in Khost province overnight. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound east of Ali Shir Alaqehdari in Terayzai district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the facilitator along with several of his associates. The security force also found a grenade and shotgun, along with multiple AK-47 rifle magazines, at the scene.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force targeted the Taliban deputy leader for Nawah-ye Barakzai district who coordinates the activities of Taliban fighters in the district, detaining two suspected insurgents during an operation in Helmand province overnight. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound south of Khalifeh Shirin Kowr in Nahr-e Saraj district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the joint security force began to clear the compound. During the clearance, the security force killed a man when he charged at the security force. After questioning at the scene, the security force detained two suspected insurgents. In neighboring Kandahar province, a separate security force targeted a Taliban senior leader and facilitator who directs the placement of improvised explosive devices and facilitates the movement of fighters and materials. The security force targeted a compound east of Salavat in Panjwa'i district to search for the targeted individual. After an Afghan-led call-out, the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. The security force then detained several suspected insurgents, after initial questioning at the scene. No shots were fired during the operation.

In yesterday’s Afghanistan news:

-- Coalition forces conducted precision air strikes in Baghlan province targeting the senior Taliban military leader for Dahanah-ye Ghori and Pul-e Khumri districts. The leader plants improvised explosive devices, and supplies financing, weapons and ammunition to Taliban leadership operating in the area. He also plans attacks on checkpoints between Baghlan-e Jadid and Pul-e Khumri districts. Intelligence tracked a group of armed insurgents to a remote area of Dahanah-ye Ghori district. After confirmation of insurgent activity and careful planning to ensure no civilians were present, coalition forces conducted the precision air strikes on the group. The strikes reportedly killed more than 10 insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, but Afghan and coalition forces were unable to conduct a ground assessment. ISAF still is gathering information to confirm the reports and to determine if the targeted individual was among those killed in the strike.

-- A detainee in ISAF custody was found dead in his holding cell in southern Afghanistan. The detainee was captured during an Oct. 16 operation and was being held in Kandahar province. An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances of the man's death.

-- An Afghan and coalition force conducting a dismounted patrol discovered a large stockpile of insurgent weapons, drugs and explosives in southern Afghanistan. The combined force also detained two individuals associated with the weapons during the operation in the Musa Qal'ah district of Helmand province. The weapons found include several rockets, two bags of ammonium nitrate, 10 kilograms of opium, one machine gun drum loaded with 75 rounds, one AK-47 rifle with six magazines, 300 AK-47 rounds and 60 AK-47 tracer rounds. The cache and detainees were transported to a forward operating base where the cache will be safely destroyed.

-- Afghan and coalition forces detained numerous suspected insurgents in three overnight operations in northern and eastern Afghanistan aimed at capturing Taliban and Haqqani Network leadership. In Khost province, an Afghan and coalition security force targeted a Haqqani Network facilitator responsible for coordinating the movement of weapons throughout Sabari district. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound in Sabari district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning of the residents at the scene, the security force detained several suspected insurgents. A separate security force targeted a Taliban leader who commands Taliban units operating in Ghazni province and maintains close ties with senior Taliban leadership in Pakistan, detaining suspected insurgents during an overnight operation in Ghazni. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound north of the village of Gahari Sofla in Andar district to search for the targeted individual. After an Afghan-led callout, the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. The security force detained the suspected insurgents after initial questioning of the residents at the scene. In northern Badghis province, a combined force detained two suspected insurgents during an operation targeting the Taliban shadow governor for the province Oct. 16. He became the new shadow governor for province earlier this month, replacing Mullah Ismail who was killed in a joint operation Oct 6. The targeted individual is responsible for IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Badghis province and was also heavily involved with the disappearance of U.S. soldiers last November.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban facilitator who led an improvised explosive device attack cell in Qalat and Shah Joy districts, during an operation in Zabul province overnight. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a remote compound in Shinkai district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning of the residents at the scene the security force identified and detained the facilitator. The security force also discovered a sniper rifle with ammunition along with a pistol and homemade explosives.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force targeted a Taliban IED and narcotics facilitator for Maiwand and Lashkar Gah districts, detaining two suspected insurgents in Helmand province overnight. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a remote compound in Lashkar Gah district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning of the residents at the scene, the security force detained two suspected insurgents. During the clearance, the security force killed an insurgent armed with a pistol after he emerged from the targeted compound and threatened the security force. The security force also found a pressure plate IED initiator at the scene.

In Oct. 16 Afghanistan news:

-- Afghan and ISAF troops freed a kidnapped child and detained several suspected kidnappers in Kabul. Multiple intelligence reports and tips from local citizens led the combined security force to the location of the kidnapped boy. Upon surrounding the location, Afghan security forces entered the location and freed the boy without incident. Five suspects were detained. The kidnapped boy, the son of an Afghan government official, was unharmed and reunited with his family.

-- Afghan and coalition forces discovered a large IED cache during a patrol in the Zharay district of Kandahar province. The patrol found more than 30 anti-personnel mines, five anti-tank mines, more than 20 hand grenades and more than 300 meters of detonation cord. An explosive ordnance disposal team disarmed the devices in place.

-- Coalition forces conducted precision air strikes in Paktiya province targeting a Haqqani Network senior leader who supplies weapons and conducts attacks against Afghan and coalition forces operating in neighboring Musa Khel district of Khost province. Intelligence tracked two groups of insurgents armed with heavy weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and automatic weapons, to remote areas of Shwak and Dzadran districts after the insurgents had conducted an attack in the area. After careful planning to ensure no civilians were present, coalition forces conducted the precision air strikes on the groups. The strikes reportedly killed more than five insurgents, but Afghan and coalition forces were unable to conduct a ground assessment.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader who led IED and direct-fire attacks in Paktika province. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound north of Alaqehdari-ye Yahya Khel to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning of the residents at the scene, the security force identified and detained the targeted individual along with three of his associates.

-- Afghan and ISAF troops located and destroyed an improvised explosive facilitation and storage compound during an operation in the Sangin district of Helmand province. Multiple intelligence reports and tips from local citizens led the combined force to the compound ascertained to be the primary IED facilitation and storage facility in the district. The target compound is associated with a senior Sangin-based Taliban leader and facilitator of IEDs and their components along with other lethal aid in the Sangin area. The compound has a historic link with insurgency in the area, and has been regularly used by Taliban leaders and facilitators as a Taliban command and control facility. Intelligence established the facility was filled with IEDs, but was also thoroughly rigged with explosives to deny access by anyone other than the Taliban; villagers would not go near the building. The combined Afghan and coalition force visually detected numerous booby traps, as well as explosive residue around the facility, to corroborate the intelligence reports. The patrol ensured Afghan civilians in the area were a safe distance from the site and protected them in an enclosed building, before they safely destroyed the building. Large secondary explosions indicated that the IED cache was sizeable. "Local Afghans can feel a little more secure knowing these weapons won't harm them or the security forces that are there to protect them," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director.

-- Afghan and coalition forces captured a Haqqani Network leader who maintained weapons caches and planned attacks, during an overnight operation in Paktika province. The leader's capture will help degrade the Haqqani Network's operations in northeastern Pakitka, while enhancing counterinsurgency initiatives in the area. Intelligence tips led the security force to a series of compounds south of Delay in Ziruk district. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit each compound peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the targeted individual along with several of his associates.

-- Afghan and coalition forces captured a Taliban facilitator for weapons, ammunition and suicide bombers in Kandahar City during an overnight operation in the city. Intelligence tips led the security force to a compound in Kandahar City to search for the facilitator. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the facilitator along with several of his associates.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban weapons facilitator who played a key role in the facilitation of weapons and improvised explosive devices in Now Zad district of Helmand province, during an overnight operation in the province. The facilitator maintained contact with Taliban in Chaman, Pakistan, and was also involved in the facilitation of homemade explosive precursors. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound north of the village of Anarak in Now Zand district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning of the residents at the scene, the security force identified and detained the facilitator and several of his associates.

 

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