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Suspected Taliban Captured; Three Civilians Killed, Three Injured

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2006 – Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's Kandahar province yesterday, while in separate incidents today and yesterday, three Afghan civilians were killed and three others were wounded by enemy action, military officials reported.

Three Afghan civilians were seriously injured today when their vehicle struck a landmine buried in the center of a main road between Orgun and Gayan districts. The injured Afghans suffered ankle fractures and shrapnel injuries to the head. One also suffered an eye injury. All three were taken to a coalition medical facility for treatment.

"Roadside bombs cause suffering and death to innocent civilians," said Army Lt. Col Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman. "These extremists show no regard for the lives of their fellow Afghans."

Yesterday, Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, together with coalition forces, conducted a successful series of cordon-and search operations at suspected enemy compounds in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar province. The police detained two suspected Taliban fighters during the searches.

Following the searches, the combined force continued toward the village of Pashmul. Later that evening, Afghan and coalition forces fought a sizable force of Taliban fighters who retreated into a house and continued fighting. Sporadic fighting continued through the night.

Coalition forces have no assessment of Taliban killed or wounded. One coalition vehicle was destroyed in the fighting, officials said. Three Afghan truck drivers were killed yesterday when extremists attacked their convoy in the Wazi Khwa district of Paktika province. One driver survived and another is missing, officials said.

"This criminal attack on defenseless civilians shows the callousness of these insurgents," Fitzpatrick said. "These people have no regard for innocent human life, killing fellow Afghans. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims."

The three-truck convoy was en route from Bagram Air Base to a coalition base in Wazi Khwa when extremists attacked with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

The one known survivor drove his heavily damaged truck to a coalition base, carrying the bodies of two of his colleagues in the truck with him. He reported to authorities that two others were still at the site of the attack.

A coalition quick-reaction force arrived at the scene and discovered two of the trucks had been set on fire. They recovered the body of a 15-year-old. The search continues for the missing driver.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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