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Afghan, Coalition Troops Detain 11, Repel Militant Attack

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2008 – Afghan and coalition security forces teamed up this week to repel an enemy attack and seize nearly a dozen suspected insurgents, military officials said.

Afghan and coalition security forces detained 11 suspected militants during a March 12 operation that targeted extremist activities in Khowst province, officials said.

The combined Afghan-coalition force seized the 11 suspects during a sweep of compounds in the Tanai district. The detainees are linked to foreign fighter operations, as well as bomb-making and weapons-facilitation activities. The detainees will be questioned about their alleged involvement in these illegal activities, officials said. The Afghan-coalition force also found a number of bomb-making materials, hand grenades, small arms, ammunition and ammunition vests.

Afghan and coalition security forces “are rallying against militants who use weapons and explosives to harm innocent Afghan civilians and Afghanistan’s security forces,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition forces spokesman.

In other news, Afghan security forces and coalition advisors defeated an enemy attack and found a weapons cache during action near Surksang in Zabul province March 11.

The Afghan troops were attacked by a large group of insurgents that employed small-arms, heavy-machine gun and recoilless-rifle fire. The Afghans returned fire and called in close-air support to defeat the enemy. After pursuing the retreating militants, the Afghan forces found a weapons cache consisting of a recoilless rifle, three heavy machine guns and two other weapons.

“The cache was found as a result of the insurgents’ hasty retreat,” said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, a coalition spokeswoman.

The insurgents regrouped and began to direct 82 mm recoilless-rifle rounds and small-arms fire at the combined forces. The Afghan troops responded with direct fire and air strikes, eliminating the threat. Afterward, the troops discovered a recoilless rifle and a motorcycle wired to a bomb.

In addition, Afghan security forces, advised by coalition forces, disposed of an enemy weapons cache containing improvised explosive devices during a March 10 operation in Oruzgan province, officials said. A local citizen found the cache was and told the provincial police chief. The police chief then notified Afghan soldiers.

The Afghan soldiers formed a security ring while an Afghan police bomb squad searched for more explosives. One suspicious canister was identified, and the police destroyed it in place.

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

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Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 82
NATO International Security Assistance Force


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