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Insurgents Killed in Afghan Border Region Clashes

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2005 – Initial reports indicate up to nine insurgents were killed May 30 during three near-simultaneous attacks against Afghan and coalition positions along the Afghan-Pakistan border, military officials in the Afghan capital of Kabul reported today.

Afghan and coalition forces reported three adjacent positions near the border coming under attack by small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. Coalition aircraft responded and, in conjunction with ground forces, pursued the attackers, killing up to nine insurgents. No Afghan or coalition forces were injured or killed as a result of the attacks.

Across Afghanistan on May 27, six caches of munitions were discovered by coalition forces or turned in by Afghans, officials said.

In all, 172 cases of anti-aircraft ammunition, 130 mortars, 57 recoilless rifle rounds, 45 cases of machine gun ammunition, 17 anti-personnel mines, four rockets and three hand grenades were found.

Afghan police also discovered and turned in three Russian-manufactured machine guns and one mortar system.

Of the six caches discovered, three were the result of Afghan citizens coming forward and pointing out their location to Afghan and coalition forces, officials said.

In other military news from Afghanistan, soldiers deployed here officially became infantrymen in a historic ceremony May 28 at Camp Phoenix.

The soldiers were awarded the infantry military occupational specialty upon graduating from only the second infantry-qualification course held in a combat zone; the first was during World War II.

Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, which trains the Afghan National Army, offered the two-week course for its soldiers from the Indiana National Guard's 76th Infantry Brigade. The graduates already held a different MOS but now have 11B, Infantry, as a secondary MOS.

Guard soldiers usually earn the infantry MOS at a Regional Military Academy in the United States, explained Command Sgt. Maj. James Gordon, Task Force Phoenix's command sergeant major. Members of the 76th include infantry instructors from one of the academies, so Phoenix's enlisted leaders asked for and were given permission to hold the course in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joe McFarren was named the course's Honor Graduate, and Spc. Matt Estheiner received the Commandant's Award for academic success.

Forty-six Soldiers began the course. Thirty-five graduated after two demanding weeks of honing their infantry skills.

The course was conducted at Camp Phoenix, on the outskirts of Kabul, and at the Afghan National Army's Kabul Military Training Center.

The soldiers fired U.S. weapons and ANA weapons. They performed live-fire exercises and practiced Military Operations in Urban Terrain. When they were in the field, they were always aware a real enemy threat was nearby, as were live land mines.

The qualified 11B instructors assured that training and doctrine standards were maintained throughout the course, officials said.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases. Army Maj. Eric Bloom contributed to this report.)

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