Afghan Forces Inflict Losses, Detain Local Taliban Leader
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 5, 2008 Afghan national security forces, advised by coalition forces, killed several insurgents March 2 after a failed Taliban ambush 30 kilometers northeast of Gareshk district in Helmand province, military officials reported yesterday.
The combined force was conducting a reconnaissance patrol when a group of insurgents engaged them with small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire. The combined force immediately returned accurate small-arms and machine-gun fire. The large group of insurgents attempted to outmaneuver the combined force and moved into a trench line.
Moments later, the combined force fixed the insurgents in their position and used precision munitions to kill the Taliban insurgents who were trying to reinforce the enemy positions.
In other recent operations, Afghan and coalition forces captured seven insurgents Feb. 28 in Surkhagan village during an air assault mission in Zabul province, officials said.
During the mission, Afghan National Army and coalition forces infiltrated several compounds and cave complexes in search of insurgents and bomb-making facilities and material. They found three car bombs, bomb-making materials, storage facilities, ammunition caches and insurgent fighting positions. The combined force called in precision air strikes that destroyed the cave complex, fighting positions and the ammunition storage areas.
Afghan army leadership conducted a shura, or consultation, with the villagers to assure them the area is safer now because the insurgents were captured, which officials said helped to neutralize the bomb threat.
“The ANA mission’s success degraded the insurgents’ ability to fight, neutralized the (car bombs) and disrupted future insurgent attempts to disrupt peace,” said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, a coalition spokeswoman.
In other news, Afghan and coalition forces have positively identified a Taliban leader detained during a Feb. 25 joint operation in Ghazni province as Mullah Shabir.
Shabir is believed to have provided intelligence, logistical support and improvised explosive devices to Taliban forces. He also is believed to be responsible for recent rocket attacks throughout Ghazni province, officials said.
The joint operation was conducted based on information received through a program that offers Afghan citizens financial compensation for information that leads to the capture of enemy personnel or the recovery of weapons. It also serves as a means for Afghan citizens to directly and anonymously participate in the effort to rid the country of insurgents, illegal weapons and explosives, officials said.
(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)