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Forces Kill, Detain Militants in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2009 – Combined Afghan and international forces killed or detained suspected militants in Afghanistan’s Wardak and Khowst provinces yesterday, and officials are investigating whether an International Security Assistance Force rocket attack caused civilian casualties, military officials reported.

A combined force targeted a compound near the village of Babur Kheyl in Wardak’s Sayed Abad district after intelligence indicated militant activity there. After entering the compound, the force received hostile fire and returned fire, killing the militants. The patrol searched the compound and detained a group of suspected militants. No civilians were harmed during the operation, officials said.

In another operation, a combined force searched compounds near the village of Baran Kheyl in Khowst province’s Manduzai district, looking for a Haqqani terrorist suspect responsible for funneling foreign fighters into the area. The combined force killed an enemy militant and detained a suspect. No civilians were harmed during the operation.

The Haqqani network uses a generations-old system of routes in eastern Afghanistan to conduct attacks, gain strongholds and arm other militants, officials said.

Meanwhile, ISAF officials are investigating allegations in media reports that a surface-to-surface rocket strike near Babaji village in the Lashkar Gah district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province yesterday caused civilian casualties.

ISAF officials said the strike targeted nine militants believed to be emplacing an improvised explosive device, and that ISAF forces were not aware of any civilians in the vicinity. “Only those involved in the IED emplacement were targeted,” officials said in a statement.

"ISAF takes all credible allegations of civilian casualties very seriously and investigates each allegation to determine the facts," said Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, spokeswoman for ISAF’s Joint Command. "If any civilians were injured through our actions, we deeply regret it."

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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