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Moshtarak, Other Operations Continue in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2010 – Operation Moshtarak, the Afghan-led initiative to assert government authority in the center of Afghanistan’s Helmand province, completed its first day of clearing operations yesterday, military officials reported.

An early morning air insertion of Afghan and international forces before 6 a.m. included helicopters, A-10s, Tornadoes and C-130 aircraft. Afghan soldiers then had at least two meetings with local leaders, one in Nad Ali and one in Marja, to explain the operation and establish themselves on the ground. Discussions with local Afghans have been assessed as good, officials said, and more such meetings are anticipated in the coming days.

Early yesterday morning, Helmand Gov. Mangal and Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Zazai, 205th Atal Corps commander, addressed the media during a news conference in Lashkar Gah. In the evening, representatives of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.N. World Food Program, the World Health Organization and local nongovernmental organizations reported that no increase has been observed in Afghans leaving Nad Ali as a result of the operation.

Afghan and International Security Assistance Force troops in both Nad Ali and Marja found a number of stockpiles of bomb-making equipment and weapons .

– Today, a combined Afghan-ISAF patrol found more than 500 pounds of ammonium nitrate and other bomb-making materials while clearing a compound in Marja. Acting on a tip from a local resident, another Afghan-ISAF force found about 300 yards of detonation cord wrapped in plastic in a canal, also in Helmand’s Garm Ser district.

Also today, a combined Afghan-ISAF patrol found two 155 mm artillery rounds, four pressure plates, blasting caps and batteries in Helmand’s Nad Ali district.

In recent operations elsewhere in Afghanistan:

-- An Afghan-international combined force last night captured a Taliban commander responsible for planning and leading bombing attacks against Afghan and coalition troops in the village of Ahmadzay in Logar province’s Mohammad Agha district. The security force also found body armor and a fragmentation grenade.

-- In the Sayyidabad district of Wardak province yesterday, a combined Afghan-ISAF patrol found roadside bombs and bomb-making materials. The find consisted of 82 mm mortar rounds and a bomb composed of five rounds strung together. The force detained two suspected insurgents after a search of a nearby home revealed live and expended small-arms rounds and several lengths of wire.

-- An Afghan patrol detained an insurgent who had a bomb hidden in a wheelbarrow in Kandahar city yesterday. After his arrest, the man provided information that led Afghan forces to a nearby house, where they found more bombs and bomb-making materials.

-- A combined Afghan-international force killed an enemy militant and captured another while pursuing a Taliban subcommander in Kandahar province yesterday. The force had interdicted a vehicle in the Panjwayee district, and killed one of two men from the vehicle when he displayed hostile intent to members of the combined force. The other man was detained.

-- In an overnight operation that ended yesterday, an Afghan-international force in Kandahar City captured a Taliban subcommander, an explosives expert and another suspected insurgent.

-- In another overnight operation in Khost province, a combined force in the Sabari district captured a Haqqani terrorist network commander accused of arranging the movement of supplies and weapons to insurgent groups and coordinating attacks on coalition and Afghan troops. The combined force also detained several other insurgents and recovered grenades.

-- A combined force detained several insurgents during an overnight operation in the Kah Rod district of Nimroz province. The force also found an automatic rifle, grenades and dozens of rocket-propelled grenade fuses.

-- A group of insurgents turned themselves in to Afghan Border Police in the Zargoon district of Herat province Feb. 12. The five men handed over four assault rifles with four magazines of ammunition each and a rocket-propelled grenade with three rounds of ammunition.

-- Also on Feb. 12, an Afghan civilian led an ISAF team to an explosives cache containing a rocket and 14 artillery projectiles in the Shindand district of Herat province, and an ISAF patrol in Kandahar found a cache containing more than 100 pounds of heroin yesterday.

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

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