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Coalition Refutes Taliban Claims; Terrorists Captured

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2006 – A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan recently made several claims to the media that were proven false by coalition forces, and in recent operations three suspected terrorists were captured and two civilians injured by extremists, U.S. military officials reported.

An unnamed Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan has made several claims recently to Afghan media outlets. Coalition forces have compared each of the claims with facts and information reported by coalition troops on the ground in each of the provinces mentioned, officials said.

The unnamed spokesman reported that Taliban fighters killed eight coalition members during an attack Aug. 21 on a coalition convoy in Qala Bazaar of Alishang district, located in Laghman province. The coalition had already confirmed that an attack occurred; however, there were no casualties and no damage to coalition vehicles or equipment, officials said.

The spokesman also claimed that 50 Afghan and coalition forces were killed during the last 10 days of fighting in the Laghman province. The spokesman went on to say that 15 coalition vehicles had been destroyed and 10 coalition weapons had been seized. These claims are not true, officials said. The only other incident that has occurred in Laghman province since Aug. 15 resulted in only one U.S. military member injured.

Finally, the Taliban spokesman claimed that an attack was conducted Aug. 21 on a U.S. patrol in the Lotta area of the Manoogi district in Kunar. The spokesman said that 14 U.S. military members were confirmed dead by Taliban fighters, and that two Taliban fighters were killed and four others were wounded during the attack.

An attack did occur in Pech district, Kunar province on Aug. 19, and coalition forces confirmed that three U.S. military members were killed and three wounded in that incident. The U.S. patrol was actually struck by an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire, officials said.

In operational news, Afghan and coalition forces conducted a pre-dawn raid on a compound housing suspected terrorists yesterday near Paru Kheyl village, in Khowst province. Three suspects were taken into custody. Assorted weapons and ammunition were confiscated in the operation. Weapons included automatic and bolt-action rifles, a shotgun and ammunition-carrying chest racks.

Three other men found in the compound were released after questioning. More than 20 women and children also were located within the facilities.

This operation was to capture a known al Qaeda facilitator. Credible intelligence linked the targeted individual to suspected terrorist activities and attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Khowst province, officials said. The coalition is assessing information taken from the raid and determining the level of involvement of the three suspected terrorists taken into custody.

Elsewhere, several rockets fired by Taliban extremists struck a nomad encampment, injuring two civilians in Gardez on Aug. 21. Coalition medical personnel are treating the injured. Their condition is not known, officials said.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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