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Insurgent Killed in Afghanistan; Afghan Pilots to Begin Flying Missions

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2006 – Afghan and coalition forces killed one insurgent yesterday in combat in the Deh Rawod district of Afghanistan's Uruzgan province. Elsewhere, U.S. officials announced that Afghan aviators are ready to begin flying missions.

While conducting a combined security patrol, Afghan National Army and coalition elements engaged four Taliban insurgents with small-arms fire, killing one, and then called for close-air support. Coalition aircraft responded and dropped two joint direct-attack munitions -- 2,000-pound guided bombs. No battle-damage assessment was available; there were no Afghan or coalition casualties in the engagement, U.S. officials said.

"The enemies of Afghanistan cannot stand up to the firepower and strength of Afghan and coalition forces," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force 76, said. "We will continue to work with our Afghan counterparts to not allow the enemies of this nation a moment's rest."

In other news from Afghanistan, U.S. officials announced today that Afghan National Army air corps flight crews will soon begin flying missions with coalition forces.

The Afghan airmen are scheduled to arrive at Bagram Air Base on April 9 with helicopters to begin flying missions with aviators from the coalition's Task Force Falcon.

Commanders from the ANA air corps and the Army's 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, deployed from Fort Drum , N.Y. , met in March in what officials called a first step toward building an aviation partnership. Afghan Brig. Gen. Mohammed Barat and the Task Force Falcon commander, U.S. Army Col. Michael Rose, discussed ways U.S. and Afghan aviators can work together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Aviators from both units were on hand for the meeting.

"This is just one step along the way to the Afghan National Army taking responsibility for the entire country and ensuring the sovereignty of their nation and the sovereignty of their own government," Rose explained.

Eventually, Rose said, Afghan national security forces will take control of all military operations in Afghanistan.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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