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Troops in Afghanistan Kill Dozens of Insurgents, Seize Weapons, Drugs

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan troops have killed nearly 50 militants, detained three and seized drugs in ongoing operations in Afghanistan this week.

In an update published today, military officials reported that Afghan commandos and coalition forces have killed 47 militants, including 13 in air strikes this morning, during ongoing operations in Helmand province.

The combined forces launched the joint operation in the city of Marjeh in the province’s Nad Ali district on May 19 to disrupt activities in a key militant stronghold and narcotics hub. Over the past four days, troops have seized bomb-making materials, weapons and hundreds of thousands of pounds of narcotics, military officials said.

“This will have a significant financial and logistical impact on the insurgency in southern Afghanistan,” said U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Army Col. Greg Julian. “The commandos have done a phenomenal job and far exceeded the expectation for this operation.”

Combined forces killed one person and detained three others in an operation in Helmand province today.

During a raid on a compound in Lashkar Gah, where intelligence indicated militants were located, troops encountered a man attempting to flee. Military officials said he ignored repeated warnings and maneuvered on troops, who killed him. Forces detained three suspects in the operation.

In a joint operation May 20, combined forces killed the top militant commander in the Andar district of Ghazni province, military officials said.

Abdul Baki, who was heavily armed with rifles and hand grenades, attacked the Afghan police with small-arms fire as they entered his residence. Baki wounded one coalition forces member before being killed.

“The [Afghan National Police’s] termination of this commander will significantly decrease the ability of the militants in Ghazni to carry out their crimes against humanity,” a coalition spokesman said.

Baki commanded a cell of 20 to 30 fighters responsible for attacks against coalition and Afghan forces and government officials. During the operation, troops discovered 50 voter registration cards Baki had stolen from villagers ahead of the upcoming August election, military officials said.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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