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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill Taliban Commander, Destroy Headquarters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2006 – Afghan and coalition forces killed a senior Taliban commander April 6 and destroyed a Taliban district headquarters this morning in a series of ongoing offensive operations in southern Afghanistan, military officials there said.

A joint coalition force killed the senior Taliban commander in the Musa Qaleh District in northern Helmand Province. The commander was tied directly to dozens of improvised explosive device attacks that killed and crippled multiple Afghans since 2001. He also was responsible for the deaths of Afghan and Coalition soldiers, officials said.

We "effectively disrupted the command and control of Taliban fighters in the northern Helmand and Uruzgan Provinces," said Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commander of the Coalition's Combined Joint Task Force 76. "This is another step in creating stability and supporting local governors."

Freakely noted that Afghan and coalition operations are designed to "to support the Afghan people and prevent the Taliban from killing innocent citizens, burning schools, murdering mullahs, and stopping progress and governance in Afghanistan."

In ongoing operations this morning, coalition forces used close-air support to destroy an insurgent headquarters in the Sangin District of Helmand Province, killing a second known Taliban commander and one of his subordinates.

"We conducted an air assault into the known enemy compound following the air strike to gather intelligence," Freakley said. "Once our ground forces seized the objective, we confirmed that two Taliban were killed, and we captured two terrorists. These extremists offer nothing to the people of Afghanistan but violence, intimidation and fear."

No injuries to civilians, coalition and Afghan forces were reported, and Afghan and coalition forces are continuing offensive operations in Helmand, Kandahar and Zabul provinces.

The captured terrorist leader promoted fear and intimidation and was directly tied to attacks on Afghan civilians and government officials, Freakley said. He also was linked to several improvised explosive device attacks aimed at Afghan civilians, government and coalition security forces.

Freakley and his troops are confident that Taliban extremists in southern Afghanistan can be located, targeted and destroyed. We "have the initiative and will continue to conduct offensive operations in southern Afghanistan to disrupt and destroy Taliban leaders and their cohorts," Freakley said.

This operation, he added, "demonstrates the growing strength and capability of Afghan National Security Forces, [when] partnered with coalition forces, to systematically improve the security and stability of Afghanistan."

(Compiled from various news releases.)

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Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

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