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Afghan Commandos Nab Taliban Leader in First Raid

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2007 – A new battalion of Afghan National Army commandos today completed it first operation, capturing a well-known Taliban facilitator and two suspected Taliban extremists.

Working with a contingent of Afghan national police advised by coalition forces, the commandos led a two-day mission 30 miles southwest of Jalalabad in the Sherzad district of Nangahar province. During the mission, the commandos captured and detained Haji Shir Khan, a known improvised explosive device maker, who is responsible for numerous IED attacks on Afghan and coalition forces in the province.

The assault force also found two weapons caches that contained 18 rocket-propelled-grenade rounds, an anti-tank mine, 10 hand grenades, a 12-gauge shotgun, eight fully-loaded AK-47 magazines, and more than 80 kilograms of opium.

“The commandos represent a bright future for the Afghan national security forces, and it’s no surprise after all of their training that they were successful in today’s mission,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “Operations such as this one demonstrate that the (Afghan National Police), and now the commandos, are authority figures to the residents of Nangahar and can rapidly conduct synchronized missions against the enemies of peace and stability.“

In separate actions today:

-- In Ghazni province, Afghan and coalition forces killed several suspected militants and detained another.

-- Several suspected militants were killed and two others were detained during an operation in Helmand province. The detainees include a suspected militant who was wounded during the course of operations and evacuated for further medical attention. Soldiers found opium, several AK-47s, numerous full ammunition vests, a machine gun and several rocket-propelled grenades during the operation.

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

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