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Afghan, Coalition Troops Conduct Successful Missions Against Taliban

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2007 – Afghan National Security Forces, supported by coalition partners, successfully conducted an operation against Taliban fighters in Helmand province this week, military officials reported.

Several Taliban fighters were killed during a precise operation July 27, according to reports, and there were no reported civilian casualties or damage.

“This operation follows a series of … blows against the Taliban command over the last few weeks,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Claudia Foss, International Security Assistance Force spokesman. “They are aimed at impacting the ability of the Taliban to plan and coordinate its attacks.”

In other operations this week, Afghan National Police thwarted the attempts of insurgents trying to hijack a United Nations food shipment in Farah province July 27. The shipment, part of the World Food Program, was headed to Herat where more than 100,000 Afghans rely upon it for survival.

The failed attack resulted in one Afghan National Police officer killed and six wounded.

Attacks by the Taliban earlier in the summer along the road linking Kandahar to Herat caused the suspension of the food shipments until July 11. An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 tons of food was shipped weekly during normal operations.

“Once again, the Taliban have proven that their propaganda about caring about the lives of innocent Afghans is a lie,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “Their actions speak louder than their words as they strike at the food deliveries bound for the poorest of this country.”

On July 26, Afghan National Police detained three suspects in connection with bombings in Nangahar province. The police initially responded to a call over a land dispute when they were tipped off to the suspicious activities of an individual. Afghan forces discovered 25 bags of explosives, 20 rolls of fusing and more than 11,000 blasting caps while searching the suspect’s house.

Afghan forces took three individuals into custody and asked for coalition force assistance in the questioning process. While being questioned, one suspect admitted to illegally purchasing and smuggling all the items from a major supplier in Pakistan to sell within Afghanistan.

“By discovering this bomb-making material, the (Afghan National Police) has made the streets of Nangahar safer for everyone,” Belcher said. “The material found could have been used to make up to 11,000 (improvised explosive devices).”

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force and Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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