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Coalition, Afghan Forces Reclaim Village, Disrupt Taliban

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan forces reclaimed the eastern Afghan village of Barge Matal yesterday following a July 12 firefight with Taliban militants, military officials reported.

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A U.S. soldier fires at insurgent positions in the hills surrounding the village of Barge Matal during Operation Mountain Fire in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, July 12, 2009. U.S. and Afghan forces secured the village after it had been overwhelmed by insurgents. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Moeller
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Insurgent forces had overwhelmed the isolated mountain village in Nuristan province several days prior, but fled as Afghan and NATO troops launched a late afternoon gun battle that lasted into the evening. The forces quickly secured key areas of the village and repelled the insurgents.

While securing the area, servicemembers discovered several large weapons caches, including one in a hotel known for housing anti-Afghan forces.

Coalition forces also found a bag containing more than 80 voter registration cards taken from local women. The cards are believed to be evidence of insurgents’ desire to disrupt the national elections, scheduled for late August, by denying women the right to vote.

Coalition representatives plan to meet with village elders in the near future to discuss the town’s continuing development, and to return the voter registration cards taken from local women by insurgents, officials said.

In other recent operations in Afghanistan:

-- A joint Afghan and coalition force intercepted a vehicle of suspected militants traveling in the eastern village of Nango in Ghazni province last night. During the stop, several of the men ignored the force’s warnings and were killed. Based on information discovered during a search of the vehicle, the force traced the suspected militant network to compounds about 12 miles to the north, near the village of Shemolzi. The force detained three suspects.

-- Joint Afghan and coalition forces searched several compounds known to be used by a senior Taliban commander last night in the southern province of Khandahar. The commander is believed to be responsible for multiple weapons and munitions supply lines and several attacks on coalition and Afghan units.

The joint force searched the compounds near the village of Nakhonay and uncovered numerous bomb-making materials, mortar rounds, AK-47 assault rifles, sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, more than 500 magazines of AK rifle ammunition and 100 pounds of opium. A militant was killed when he attempted to maneuver on the assault force, and 11 suspects were detained. The force destroyed all weapons, munitions and opium in place.

Ghazni and Khandahar provinces have become increasingly violent as militant commanders seek to establish strongholds to move fighters, explosives and weapons into the country, officials said.

(From U.S. Forces Afghanistan and Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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Combined Joint Task Force 82
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U.S. Forces Afghanistan on YouTube
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Click photo for screen-resolution imageU.S. and Afghan forces evacuate an insurgent to an American base to receive medical treatment during Operation Mountain Fire in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, July 12, 2009. The insurgent was wounded after attacking coalition forces. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Moeller  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageU.S. soldiers fire mortar rounds at suspected Taliban fighting positions during Operation Mountain Fire in Barge Matal, a village in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, July 12, 2009. U.S. and Afghan forces secured the remote mountain village, which had been overwhelmed by insurgent forces several days before. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Moeller  
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