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Weapons Cache Finds Help Protect Innocents in Afghanistan

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2005 – Fourteen weapons caches discovered during the past three days by coalition forces in Afghanistan represent the solid progress being made to prevent anti-coalition militia from using them against innocent people, security forces or coalition soldiers, a Combined Forces Command spokesman told reporters today in Kabul.

Army Maj. Mark McCann reported the latest weapons cache discoveries: five in Kunar province, three in Kandahar province, two in Nangarhar province, and one each in Ghazni, Hilmand, Khost and Zabul provinces.

McCann said five of the caches were turned in to coalition forces by local security forces or citizens. "We continue to be encouraged and we commend the Afghan citizens who take responsibility for their own security," he said.

Years of war has left many kinds of ammunition throughout Afghanistan. "While we don't have an accurate accounting of all the ammunition throughout the country, we do continue to uncover caches of this ammunition every day -- many times with the help of local Afghan citizens or security forces," McCann said.

Some munitions discovered, generally of a small caliber, are turned over to the Afghan National Army after being inspected and determined safe and serviceable. Other types of munitions, both serviceable and unserviceable, are destroyed, McCann said.

Also in Afghanistan, troops involved in Operation Lightening Freedom continue to flush out Taliban and Al Qaeda militants and set conditions for national assembly elections. To accomplish this, officials said coalition efforts are focusing on increasing the capabilities of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

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