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Troops Thwart Insurgent Ambush, Nab Suspect in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces killed more than a dozen enemy fighters when they foiled an insurgent ambush, and combined forces captured one suspect this morning in Afghanistan, military officials said.

Combined forces were conducting a combat patrol about six miles northwest of Firebase Cobra in northwestern Uruzgan province this morning when more than 20 insurgents attacked them from various locations. Insurgents fired on the patrol using small arms, a machine gun, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars.

Ground forces called in coalition close-air support to aid in repelling the ambush. As ground and air forces prepared to counterattack, they observed several insurgents using children as human shields. To avoid injuring or killing the children, the ground force commander and coalition aircraft held fire.

During the lull in firing, several Taliban attempted to flee the compound on motorcycles. Combined forces engaged and destroyed the getaway motorcycles. More than a dozen enemy fighters died in the engagement, military officials said.

“The enemies of peace and stability continue to show utter disregard for the innocent children of Afghanistan,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman.

“What makes this event all the more remarkable is that the insurgents attempted to save their own lives at the expense of these children during the holy month of Ramadan,” he continued. “It was incredibly fortunate that non-combatants, especially the children, were not injured by these reckless acts today.”

Elsewhere in Afghanistan this morning, Afghan and coalition forces raided compounds in the Andar district of Ghazni province where a suspected militant was hiding. The combined force detained the suspect, who is being held for further questioning, military officials said.

Some buildings were damaged during the raid. No civilians were reported injured or killed in the operation.

“Coalition forces conduct swift, precise operations to deny militant forces the opportunity to gather strength and momentum,” Belcher said.

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

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