Afghanistan Air Strike Kills Enemy Fighters, Destroys Cave Complex
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, May 8, 2006 A coalition air strike killed four enemy extremists and destroyed a truck and a cave complex today in the Bermel district of Afghanistan's Paktika province, military officials reported.
Other insurgents may be buried in the rubble, officials said.
Prior to the strike, a joint combat team of Afghan National Army and U.S. ground forces saw people loading a truck near the cave and determined they were moving rockets from a cave complex and that the activity was linked to recent rocket attacks on a nearby coalition base. Close-air support was used to attack and destroy the truck.
A patrol sent to investigate the cave received small-arms fire from an enemy fighter. Coalition forces returned fire and captured the attacker.
The patrol discovered two more trucks near the cave. Inside the trucks, buried under gravel, were two 107 mm rockets. Both vehicles were destroyed.
"This was a very successful joint combat operation with Afghan and coalition forces as we continue to search out enemy insurgents and eliminate their capability to attack our forces," said Army Lt. Col Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman.
"We believe these insurgents and this cache to be linked to recent rocket attacks in Bermel," said Fitzpatrick. "The crude use of rockets by insurgents more often causes damage and injuries to innocent civilians like the April rocket attacks in Asadabad that killed seven children at a school and in Kabul that injured a guard at Radio Television Afghanistan. Destroying this cache protects the lives of Afghans as well as coalition forces."
The cave complex was near, but clearly inside, the international boundary of Afghanistan and confirmed by global positioning system, officials said.
Combined Forces Command Afghanistan officials said only three close-air-support rounds were fired, and all accurately struck the cave only. Coalition forces were in direct communication with Pakistani forces across the border throughout this operation, officials added.
(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)