Afghans, Coalition Broaden Assault on Insurgent Leaders
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2011 Coalition and Afghan forces have removed dozens of insurgents from the fight across broad sections of Afghanistan in recent days, including 15 in the past 24 hours, military officials reported.
International Security Assistance Force members have killed 15 insurgent fighters in separate operations in eastern Afghanistan since yesterday.
In Kunar province, a coalition air weapons team killed numerous insurgents after they engaged a coalition foot patrol with small-arms fire in the Dangam district.
In a separate clearing operation in Kunar’s Shigal wa Sheltan district, another ISAF patrol was engaged by insurgents with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Again, a coalition air weapons team was called in and killed numerous insurgents.
In other operations today:
-- An Afghan civilian was seriously wounded by device roadside bomb in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district of and was taken by Afghan civilians to a local hospital.
-- Afghan forces and ISAF troops discovered several large weapons caches during clearing operations in Kandahar, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces. Initial reports indicate no civilians were injured, and no damage was reported during the operations. The weapons, bomb-making components and chemicals were confiscated and will be destroyed.
-- ISAF officials confirmed the deaths of two senior Taliban leaders, Mohammad Gul and Abdul Ghafar, killed by coalition and Afghan forces in Wardak province Jan. 14 and 15, respectively. Gul operated in the Nerkh district, providing weapons and bomb components to Taliban leaders and insurgents. Ghafar was responsible for attacks against coalition forces in Wardak’s northwestern areas, leading roadside-bomb and direct-fire attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
Yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces targeted Taliban leaders in Farah, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces, detaining more than 10 suspects.
In the western province of Farah, combined forces were targeted a Taliban leader involved in planting roadside bombs in the Khak-e Safayd and Pusht-e Rod districts when they detained multiple other insurgent suspects. The man, who is subordinate to the district Taliban shadow governor, is suspected in the kidnapping of two Afghans in the area.
Security forces followed leads to the target locations where they discovered an assault rifle, multiple grenades, a chest rack, ammunition and a Taliban “night letter” used to threaten and intimidate local residents.
In Kandahar, Afghan and coalition forces detained several insurgent suspects while targeting a Taliban leader responsible for coordinating attacks in the Maiwand district.
In Nangarhar, combined forces detained a suspect while targeting a Taliban weapons and finance leader in the Behsud district. The targeted man is responsible for direct-fire attacks against coalition forces in the Sherzad district, and officials said he organizes, sells and distributes weapons, narcotics and funds for Taliban insurgents in the region.
In Paktia, Afghan and coalition forces detained a suspected insurgent while looking for the Gardez Taliban leader. The targeted man is involved in roadside-bomb attacks on coalition forces and is suspected of recently helping an insurgent who planted a bomb targeting Afghan police. Security forces found an automatic weapon, a pistol, a chest rack and ammunition.
In an operation yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces detained a Haqqani terrorist network leader along with several suspected insurgents in Khost province. The leader, who identified himself during a search of a compound, is believed to be responsible for ambushes and roadside-bomb attacks against security forces. The capture of the men brought to more than 25 the number of Haqqani leaders detained, along with 125 other Haqqani insurgents, since Dec. 1, officials said.
In operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan on Jan. 17 and 16:
-- In Helmand province, coalition forces spotted several insurgents planting a roadside bomb in the Kajaki district. After gaining positive identification, coalition forces engaged the enemy position with mortar and small-arms fire, killing one insurgent and dispersing the others.
-- Also in Helmand, combined forces saw insurgents planting a bomb in the Sangin district and, after establishing positive identification, engaged the enemy position with small-arms fire, killing one and forcing the others to flee.
-- Also in Sangin, an ISAF patrol was engaged by insurgents with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Coalition forces returned fire, killing one insurgent. In the same area, during a separate operation, combined forces spotted two insurgents planting a bomb and fired on them, killing one and causing the other to flee.
-- In Helmand, an air weapons team gained positive identification on an insurgent planting a bomb in the Nahr-e Saraj district and killed him.
-- In Ghazni province, an ISAF patrol detained an insurgent who owns a shop that stored bomb-making components in the Andar district.
-- Afghan and ISAF forces discovered several weapons caches during separate clearing operations in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, including bomb-making components, rockets, mortar rounds, artillery rounds and hand grenades. Initial reports indicate no civilians were injured and no damage was reported during the clearing operations. The weapons, bomb components and chemicals were confiscated and will be destroyed.
-- In Kabul, Afghan forces detained an alleged Taliban leader and bomb expert and an associate known to have been involved in rocket attacks and direct-fire attacks in Baghlan and surrounding provinces. They also are reported to have ties to bomb-attack facilitators in Pakistan and are suspected in the murders of several civilians and government officials.
-- A combined force disrupted an insurgent smuggling route in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. As the force moved to stop and search a targeted vehicle, three occupants got out and tried to run away. As the force secured the vehicle and moved to clear the surrounding area, two of the men fired at them. The security force returned fire, killing the insurgents. The third man attempted to fire on the security force, and was engaged by an air weapons team and killed. The security force searched the vehicle and found two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, a machine gun and 5,000 7.62 mm rounds. The weapons were safely destroyed on site. Initial reports indicate no civilians were injured during the operation.
-– Afghan police and ISAF forces found and cleared a suicide vest from a mosque in Kandahar City. The police requested assistance from an ISAF explosive ordnance disposal team and escorted them to the device, which was hidden in the mosque’s tower. The EOD team safely removed the vest from the tower. It was rigged with ball bearings, a grenade and nearly 20 pounds of explosives. After the vest was removed, but before it could be properly destroyed, it detonated, causing external damage to the mosque and surrounding building. No civilians were injured.
-– Nine Afghan civilians were killed Jan. 16 when the taxi they were riding in struck a roadside bomb in Baghlan province’s Pul-e Khumi district.
Numerous insurgents were killed and others wounded by Afghan and coalition forces during clearing and security operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan on Jan. 16 and 15.
In Helmand, insurgents hiding in a building in the Musa Qaah district fired on a patrol of combined forces. Coalition forces returned fire with anti-armour missiles and called for air support, which destroyed the building and killed two insurgents.
In Kunar’s Dangam district, an air weapons team in support of ground forces in the area declared an imminent threat when they spotted armed insurgents moving in a historical fighting location. After establishing positive identification, the team engaged the enemy position, killing numerous insurgents and dispersing the others.
On Jan. 15, Afghan and ISAF forces discovered several weapons caches during separate clearing operations in Logar province, Paktika, and Kandahar provinces that included mortar rounds, grenades, radios, ammunition, assault rifles, and bomb components. In Helmand, they found a cache containing 440 pounds of marijuana.
Initial reports indicate no civilians were injured and no damage was reported during the clearing operations. The weapons, explosives and drugs from all the provinces were confiscated and will be destroyed.
In other operations Jan. 15:
-- A combined team targeted a Taliban bomb-attack facilitator in Helmand’s Sangin district. Intelligence reports led them to a compound where Afghan forces called out for occupants to exit peacefully. Two women and four children exited peacefully. Two men also exited. One was detained and the other led the force into a building. As he led the force into one of the rooms, he reached behind a mattress, pulled out a hand grenade, and tried to throw it in the direction of the force. He was shot and killed as he threw the grenade. The force took cover as the grenade exploded. No injuries were reported.
-- Afghan and coalition forces targeted a Taliban leader during a security operation, detaining two suspects and killing two armed insurgents in Wardak province. Security forces were searching a compound in the Nerkh district where two insurgents fired on them. They returned fire, killing both. The security force detained two suspects after initial questioning. They also recovered multiple assault rifles, hand grenades, chest racks and ammunition.
-- In Kandahar province, combined forces detained several insurgents while targeting a Taliban leader known for bomb attacks in the Maiwand district. The force detained several suspected insurgents after initial questioning at the scene.
-- Seven roadside bombs were identified and disposed of by security forces with the help of local Afghans in the Gor Tepa region of Kunduz province. Security forces were in the area of the Shinwari village removing two bombs when local Afghans approached them and turned over five amore.
-- Three Afghan civilians were killed and one was seriously wounded when the car they were riding in struck a roadside bomb in Daykundi province’s Gizab district. Afghan security forces responded to assist the wounded and investigate. The wounded person was taken to a local hospital.
-- In Helmand, an ISAF patrol spotted an insurgent planting a bomb in the Nahr-e Saraj district. After gaining positive identification, coalition forces engaged the enemy position with small-arms fire, killing the insurgent. In the same province, an air weapons team patrolling the area saw two insurgents moving toward a fighting location used in the past in the Lashkar Gah district. After establishing positive identification, the air weapons team engaged the enemy position, killing two insurgents.
-- Also in Helmand’s Sangin district, a combined patrol spotted insurgents displaying hostile actions against friendly forces. After gaining positive identification, combined forces engaged the enemy position, killing one insurgent.
-- During an ISAF patrol, coalition forces observed several insurgents planting a roadside bomb in Helmand’s Nahr-e Saraj district. Coalition forces established positive identification and engaged the enemy position with small-arms fire, killing one insurgent and dispersing the others.
-- Combined forces discovered several caches during separate clearing operations in Herat and Khost, Baghlan, and Kandahar provinces. The caches included rockets, explosives, grenades, anti-personnel mine, rifle rounds, fuses, mortar rounds and a rocket booster. Afghan Border Police found 165 pounds of heroin in Kandahar province. The weapons, explosives and drugs were confiscated and will be destroyed.
On Jan. 14:
-- ISAF officials confirmed a Taliban leader who operates out of Kandahar’s Maiwand district was detained during a combined operation. He is believed to be responsible for attacks against military forces as well as the movement of weapons and bomb components.
-- ISAF confirmed the death of a mid-level Taliban leader during a combined operation in Helmand’s Nawah-ye Barakzai district. Musa Kalim was known for bombing attacks.
In other news from Afghanistan, ISAF officials are investigating a Jan. 15 shooting in Helmand province that led to the death of an Afghan police officer. According to initial reports, the Afghan police officer and a U.S. Marine had a dispute while conducting static security operations in the Sangin district. After the dispute, the uniformed police officer reportedly was making threatening statements and handling his weapon carelessly. The Marine reported the behavior to his chain of command and sergeant of the guard. After departing his post, the police officer returned with his weapon raised and pointed it toward the Marine. The Marine responded with escalation of force procedures, including shouting at the man to put the weapon down. The man failed to comply, and the Marine fired two rounds, killing him.
Meanwhile, an aviation detachment from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit began arriving at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province.
The detachment consists of several Marines from various units augmented to elements of the battalion landing team from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. Part of their mission will consist of conducting patrols and providing security as roads are improved in northern Helmand.