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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill 25 Insurgents, Discover Weapons Cache

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2007 – Afghan national security forces, advised by coalition soldiers, conducted a cordon and search operation of an insurgent headquarters southwest of Kandahar City yesterday leading to the deaths of 25 insurgents and the discovery of a weapons cache.

Intelligence reports led the Afghan and coalition forces to two compounds in Ashoqeh Village, southwest of Kandahar City. Intelligence suggested that the compounds, comprised of seven buildings, contained multiple insurgent leaders responsible for the deaths of Afghan and coalition forces during bombings and ambushes along Highway 1, west of Sanjaray.

One of the insurgents is suspected of being a Taliban leader who has facilitated attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the Kandahar City area.

The operation started with Afghan forces attempting to search the first of the two compounds. Insurgents attacked the force with small-arms and machine gun fire as they prepared to enter the first compound. Forces returned fire and called for coalition close air support. An initial assessment revealed that 11 insurgents were killed in this compound from both small-arms fire and the close air support.

Also found in the compound was bomb making material, including TNT, several heavy machine guns, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and rounds, small arms ammunition and three video cameras. In addition, during the initial engagement a suicide bomber blew himself up, causing no coalition injuries.

The ground force then moved toward the second compound when they were engaged again by machine gun fire. Because of the volume of fire from this compound, the ground forces directed close air support to engage the compound. Massive secondary explosions were observed after the aircraft engaged the compound.

Fourteen enemy fighters were estimated killed in the second compound. A total of 25 insurgents were estimated killed during the course of the evening’s operations.

No non-combatants were reported killed or wounded during this engagement.

The ground forces also reported no non-combatant activity prior to beginning their operation.

“The death of these enemies of peace and stability, and the destruction of their infrastructure, will disrupt the current assassination and terror campaign the insurgents are conducting against the (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) government and coalition forces in Kandahar City,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “The ground forces in this operation were extremely careful and precise in their application of force. The enemy was staging to kill and displace Afghan civilians, but, again, they were unsuccessful.”

In other operations yesterday:

-- Afghan National Police, advised by coalition forces, detained a Taliban leader and 10 other insurgents in the Sabari District, Khowst Province during an early-morning operation. The combined force air assaulted into three separate locations from a nearby coalition forces base and conducted cordon and search operations. The primary target was detained at his home while police arrested 10 other suspected insurgents before heading back to their base.

“The Afghan National Police have brought justice to another criminal enemy of the Afghan people,” said Belcher. “The ANP’s peaceful capture of Mohammed Ali Jan is another example of the level of competence of the ANP. It should also be noted that the Afghan National Police and their coalition forces partners remain committed to finding and eliminating al Qaeda and Taliban extremist fighters who would deny peace and stability to all Afghans.”

-- Afghan National Police officers, advised by coalition forces, defeated an attempted ambush by insurgents while conducting a combat patrol in Province. The Afghan-led force was patrolling north of Kandahar when they were attacked by a small Taliban force. The police repelled the ambush with small arms and crew-served weapons and pursued the enemy fighters attempting to flee in two vehicles. As the police continued their patrol through the village, they came under additional fire from insurgents located within the village. An estimated half-dozen insurgents were engaged and eliminated with small arms and crew-served weapons.

-- Afghan and coalition forces killed one suspected militant during an operation targeting militants associated with the al Qaeda network in Paktika Province. The militant was shot and killed after attempting to engage the force. Some damage was done to buildings during the course of operations.

-- Afghan national security forces detained a Taliban leader in the Dowlat Sha District, Nangahar Province. The Taliban sub-commander was detained by the Afghan forces and provided no resistance during his arrest. Intelligence from various sources suggests the captured leader was responsible for facilitating attacks on ANSF and coalition troops in the area.

“The ANSF have time and again proven their ability to act on intelligence to effectively remove Taliban fighters and leadership,” said Belcher. “The capture of Zar Jan will inevitably lead to information that the ANSF will use to further the eliminate Taliban leadership in the Nangahar Province.”

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

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