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Afghan, Coalition Troops Kill, Capture Insurgents, Find Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces killed 21 insurgents, nabbed 12 others, discovered a weapons cache and thwarted two ambushes in Afghanistan over the past two days, military officials said.

Afghan National Police members from Chamkani and coalition forces detained a key Taliban leader and six other insurgents in a targeted strike near Sultak village in the Patan district of Paktia province.

The high-profile suspect, Zakir Shah, is a mid-level Taliban field commander who helps transport foreign fighters and supplies between Afghanistan and Pakistan, military officials said. He also allegedly is responsible for the murders of Afghan civilians.

“The Afghan National Police in Chamkani have quickly developed into a well-trained and effective force,” said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokeswoman. “Coalition forces provided only minimal assistance to the (Afghan National Police) during planning and execution of this operation and the (Afghan National Police) performed all of their tasks flawlessly.”

During an operation southwest of Kandahar City this morning, Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces advisors killed two Taliban insurgents and detained five others. Credible intelligence led combined forces to a compound suspected of housing the militants. Troops there shot and killed two insurgents.

One detainee is suspected of being a Taliban leader who has facilitated improvised-explosive-device attacks against combined forces in the Kandahar City area, military officials said. He and the other suspects are being held for further questioning.

“This operation was directed at al Qaeda and Taliban extremist fighters who have historically planned and launched attacks aimed at terrorizing innocent non-combatants,” Bowman said. “This operation is simply another step in the (Afghan national security forces’) deliberate and systematic plan to rid Afghanistan of al Qaeda and Taliban extremist fighters who continue to attempt to destabilize the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

In Afghanistan yesterday, Afghan and coalition troops foiled an insurgent ambush in northern Kandahar province. Combined forces were on combat patrol near Tughrak village in the Sha Wali Kot district when they spotted 20 insurgents moving into fighting positions. With Afghan troops in the lead, the combined forces killed seven before the remaining insurgents fled. Afghan forces confiscated weapons and equipment from the site after the fighting ceased.

“Afghan national security forces are becoming increasingly capable of providing the security that Afghans want and need,” Bowman said. “Today, this alert and combat-ready (Afghan forces) patrol spotted the enemies of peace and stability before they could carry out their act of aggression. The insurgents’ appetite for senseless violence cost seven insurgents their lives.”

In eastern Musa Qalah Wadi, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, combined forces thwarted a separate attempted Taliban ambush yesterday. Troops were patrolling north of Regay village, in Helmand district, when an unknown number of insurgents attacked the patrol with small-arms fire, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Afghan-led force repelled the attempted ambush with accurate small-arms fire and artillery. When the insurgents reinforced their fighting positions with additional fighters, the Afghan troops requested coalition close-air support. Coalition aircraft aided in spotting targets for the ground forces, which killed a dozen insurgents during the engagement.

Combined forces later destroyed or confiscated rifles, mortars, a motorcycle, insurgent propaganda and numerous pieces of IED materials, military officials said. They also discovered a trench-bunker system and the bodies of three insurgents killed during the fight.

“Enemy forces have repeatedly attacked those who support the legitimate government of Afghanistan,” Bowman said. “This is especially true in the Musa Qala area, which is an area the enemy has used as a base of support for a long time. The amount of weaponry found and destroyed by the (Afghan military) demonstrates how the enemy is using the area as a resupply point for insurgents.

“This latest mission by the (Afghan military) has once again interdicted the enemy fighters ability to rely on this area to support their acts of violence against the innocent people of Afghanistan,” she added.

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

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