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Troops Disrupt Militant Operations in Khowst, Helmand Provinces

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2008 – Coalition troops killed a number of armed militants and detained five suspects were detained in two separate  operations March 14 to degrade militant networks in Afghanistan's Khowst and Helmand provinces.

In an operation in the Tani District of Khowst province, coalition troops performed a search of compounds targeting a militant linked to bomb-making operations.

A number of armed militants were killed when they posed a credible threat to Coalition forces. A person exited one of the buildings during one encounter. Coalition forces identified themselves in Pashtun, and the person initially complied with the instructions given to assume a non-hostile posture. The person then re-entered the building. A few moments later, he exited the building again with a second person armed with an assault rifle.

"Every attempt was made to resolve the situation without the use of force," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Coalition spokesperson. "However, the individuals made threatening gestures and presented an imminent threat. Coalition forces responded in self-defense, engaging and killing the armed individual. Regrettably, the second person then reached for the weapon and was killed as well."

Coalition forces discovered the dead militant armed with an AK-47 assault rifle was a woman after the engagement.

"The other building's occupants said the armed woman was sent out to determine Coalition forces' locations," Belcher said.

Coalition forces found and detained two individuals with suspected links to the targeted militant and militant facilitation networks when the search continued.

Coalition forces detained three individuals associated with a militant conducting anti-government activity in the area in a separate operation in the Nahri Sarraj District of Helmand province.

The detainees from both operations will be questioned on their involvement in militant operations as well as other extremist activities.

"Eliminating the IED threat generated by militant operations is a huge concern," Belcher said. "To that end, Coalition forces are continuing to degrade militant operations so their indiscriminate weapons cannot be used against the Afghan people, Afghanistan's security forces, or their Coalition partners."

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

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