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Operation Moshtarak Clearing Phase Continues

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2010 – The clearing phase of Operation Moshtarak in the center of Afghanistan’s Helmand province continued yesterday, with combined Afghan and international forces conducting a number of mounted and dismounted patrols, military officials reported.

Forces have been engaged in periodic small-arms firefights. A number of insurgents have been either killed or detained, officials said, and the combined force has suffered some injuries.

Three successful “shuras” were held with influential community members, and other meetings with Helmand residents also took place.

Afghan and International Security Assistance Force troops found improvised explosive devices and enemy weapons stockpiles. In Task Force Helmand, an engineer maneuver group is clearing mine fields and is building a bridge over the Nahr-e Baughra Canal.

The goal of Operation Moshtarak - a Dari word for "together" - is for combined forces and the Helmand provincial reconstruction team to support the Afghan government in asserting its authority in central Helmand and demonstrating its commitment to the people living there, officials said.

In other recent operations in Afghanistan:

-- A combined Afghan-international force last night captured a Taliban commander responsible for small-arms ambushes and IED attacks against Afghan and coalition troops in Kandahar province. He has also been involved in illegal Taliban prosecutions of Afghan citizens, officials said.

-- Also in Kandahar last night, a combined force captured a Taliban subcommander responsible for IED placements and attacks and the movement of supplies and weapons. The force also detained another suspected insurgent.

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

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