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Afghan, Coalition Forces Defeat Insurgents in Helmand Province

American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Oct. 22, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces engaged and killed nearly three dozen Taliban fighters in a second day of sustained fighting near the Musa Qaleh Wadi region of Helmand province today.

The combined force was conducting a reconnaissance mission when Taliban fighters engaged the patrol with rocket and small-arms fire. ANSF and coalition forces returned fire and easily out-maneuvered the enemy, quickly putting them on the defensive.

The Taliban continued attempting to reinforce their ambush positions for several hours. The coalition used small-arms, machine gun, mortar fire and close-air support to destroy Taliban fighters.

The enemy also placed an improvised explosive device along the route to prevent Afghan and coalition forces’ movements; however, an Afghan citizen led coalition members to the IED, where it was destroyed in place.

“Even in the midst of a fierce firefight, an Afghan civilian led the (Afghan forces) to an IED, preventing a potential disaster,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force-82 spokesman. “This is a clear statement that Afghan citizens know the (Afghan forces are) here to secure and create a stable environment.”

Today’s actions are part of a larger operation to disrupt terrorist activities in the Helmand province. On Oct. 19, more than a dozen Taliban insurgents attacked a combined Afghan and coalition forces reconnaissance patrol in the Musa Qaleh Wadi region, but were also repelled. There were no reports of non-combatant injuries or damage to property.

(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)

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