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Afghan, Coalition Forces Detain Five, Battle Enemy Fighters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces detained five suspected insurgents yesterday and today and killed about two dozen insurgents after a convoy was attacked in Helmand province May 27, military officials reported.

Afghan and coalition forces detained three suspected al Qaeda militants in a raid on two separate compounds early today in the Nadar Shahkot district of Khowst province.

Credible intelligence led the forces to the location suspected of housing operatives in the Haqqani network, officials said. The forces searched the compounds for contraband and found two pistols, two AK-47s and four fragmentation grenades. The weapons were taken to a safe distance and destroyed. The detainees will be questioned on their involvement in militant activities.

“We will continue to find and capture militants who would deny peace and progress in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in the operation.

Yesterday in the same district, Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected al Qaeda militants in a raid on a compound. Credible intelligence led the forces to the location suspected of housing al Qaeda operatives supported locally by the Haqqani network. The detainees will be questioned as to their involvement in militant activities.

Elsewhere, a combined Afghan National Police and coalition convoy struck two improvised explosive devices and was attacked by enemy fighters 23 kilometers east of Gereshk while escorting 24 Afghan supply trucks from Kandahar to Sangin district in Helmand province May 27.

The two IED blasts resulted in the death of one Afghan civilian truck driver and non-life-threatening injuries to three coalition soldiers. The soldiers were evacuated to a nearby treatment facility and are listed in stable condition.

The Afghan police and coalition convoy continued its movement before being attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire by an unknown number of enemy fighters positioned along the road after the second IED detonated. The combined force immediately returned fire and forced the enemy fighters to retreat. Close-air support was requested and directed to fire upon enemy fighters preparing to launch multiple attacks against the convoy.

An estimated two dozen enemy fighters were killed, and four enemy vehicles and one enemy fighting position were destroyed during the 10-hour battle. No Afghan civilian injuries were reported.

“Taliban fighters are no match for Afghan national security and coalition forces,” Belcher said. “We will intensify our operations to rid Afghanistan of all Taliban fighters who harm innocent Afghan civilians and threaten the government of Afghanistan.”

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

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