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Afghan Extremists Killed During Coalition Operation

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2007 – Three suspected extremists were killed after firing at Afghan and coalition forces during an operation in Afghanistan’s Helmand province today, officials said.

The primary target of the operation was a known Taliban leader and facilitator of suicide bombers, believed to have controlled as many as 200 fighters in the area.

In addition to ordering assassinations of Afghan government officials, the militant leader is believed to have helped move suicide attackers into Helmand province by way of Kandahar and other nearby cities, military officials reported. There have been several recent attacks on Afghan and coalition forces in the area, including improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire.

The combined Afghan-coalition force responded to numerous shots from within the target compound. There were no injuries to any of the women and children in the compound, and there were no Afghan or coalition casualties in the operation, officials said.

Additionally, a motorcycle driven by an Afghan detonated a pressure-plate bomb, killing its operator on a highway southwest of Kandahar yesterday, military officials reported.

Afghan National Police immediately took control of the situation, secured the site, and prevented any other injuries to Afghans. No coalition members were injured during the attack.

“Those individuals who facilitate the placing of IEDs are attempting to terrorize the Afghan people,” Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman, said. “With the assistance of the Afghan people, Afghan National Security Forces, and coalition members, we will soon be able to prevent this type of inhumane act.”

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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