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Coalition Forces Kill Militant, Operation Ghartse Ghar Continues in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2007 – Coalition forces in Afghanistan killed a suspected militant and detained two others yesterday in an operation against al Qaeda in the Zana Khan district of Ghazni province.

Credible intelligence led the forces to the location, suspected of housing militants working within the Haqqani network. One suspected militant was shot as coalition forces entered the compound.

In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan police advised by coalition forces conducted a combat patrol June 29-30 as part of the International Security Assistance Force’s Operation Ghartse Ghar, which is intended to clear Taliban fighters from both sides of the Helmand River near the village of Shurakian, in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

The city, historically an insurgent stronghold, is cut in half by the Helmand River. Coalition teams moved up both sides forming a two-pronged attack to give the enemy less chance of escape, U.S. officials said.

As the joint Afghan police and coalition force made its approach to the city, hundreds of civilians were seen moving out of the city.

“I watched hundreds of civilians walk out of the city unopposed,” said a coalition soldier. “I counted 150 and just quit because the stream wouldn’t stop. The civilians know the insurgents commonly use human shields when fighting with coalition forces, so it was a wise choice to go.”

Coalition forces took up positions overlooking the city and used precision weapons combined with advanced optics to eliminate confirmed targets. The coalition forces concentrated on eliminating confirmed enemies, U.S. officials said.

“We held back two air strikes because positive identification could not be confirmed,” a coalition officer said. “Our forces are very proficient at spotting signs of the enemy and ensuring positive identification before eliminating them.”

Since Operation Ghartse Ghar started in June, more than four dozen Taliban have been killed in the clashes.

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

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