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ISAF Officials Investigate Civilian Casualty Claims

American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Dec. 18, 2009 – The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is sending a team to work with Afghan officials in assessing reports of civilian casualties as a result of an operation in the Shah Wali Kot district of Afghanistan’s Kandahar province yesterday.

Initial operational reports indicate that men were planting a bomb next to the road. After firing on the men from a helicopter, ISAF forces discovered civilians in a car adjacent to the site, officials said.

In a written statement, ISAF officials said the command goes to great lengths to avoid, and deeply regrets, any harm to civilians.

In other news from Afghanistan, a combined Afghan-international security force today detained a few suspected militants in the Nerkh district of Wardak province while pursuing a Taliban suspect linked to several local militant leaders and commanders.

In another operation today, a combined force detained a sought-after bomb-attack suspect for the Haqqani terrorist group along with a few other militants in the Sabari district of Khost province after searching suspected compounds.

The suspect is heavily involved with distributing weapons to other militant elements and increasing the bombing network in the area, officials said.

In a separate operation today, a combined force detained a few suspected militants in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province while pursuing a Taliban commander responsible for manufacturing bombs and conducting several attacks in the area.

No shots were fired, and no one was harmed during these operations, officials said.

In an operation yesterday, a joint security force engaged militants in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province while pursuing a Taliban commander.

During a search, members of the combined force saw a group of suspected militants maneuvering around a nearby ridgeline. As the force departed the area after their search, the suspected militants fired on them from the ridgeline. The force returned fire and left the area without further incident.

No civilians or members of the joint force were injured during the operation, officials said.

(From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news release.)

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