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Operation Combats Insurgents, Uncovers Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2010 – Afghan troops, assisted by coalition forces, cordoned and searched an insurgent supply route used to transport and harbor roadside bombs in Afghanistan’s Helmand province late last week.

During the combined force's helicopter insertion, insurgents attacked the inbound aircraft with small-arms fire. While providing security for the combined force, helicopters and close-air support aircraft returned fire, killing two insurgents and allowing the force to land safely.

As the force began its movement on the objective area, attack helicopters identified and engaged five armed insurgents moving toward the force, wounding two. Commandos detained the two wounded insurgents and provided medical attention.

During a search of the area the force found and safely destroyed suicide vests, homemade explosives, rocket-propelled boosters, shaped charges and pressure-plate bombs.

As the mission continued, aerial scout teams and attack helicopters providing security for the force were engaged by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from 11 insurgents. The helicopters returned fire without causing civilian causalities or damage to property.

Later, the force discovered a second cache hidden inside a mosque. The cache consisted of homemade explosives, pressure-plate bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun ammunition. The Afghan commandos were the only personnel to enter the mosque.

One insurgent leader was captured and is being held for questioning.

In operations yesterday:

-- Combined security forces searched compounds in Khost following reports of militant activity and detained several suspected insurgents for questioning. The search force also uncovered several rifles and a shotgun.

-- A security force in Nangarhar province captured a Taliban deputy commander. The force searched a compound after intelligence information indicated militant activity. During the search, a suspected militant fled and was wounded. He was pursued and apprehended by the force. The man identified himself as a Taliban deputy commander responsible for leading attacks and ambushes against coalition forces. He was treated for his wounds on the scene and was medically evacuated to a nearby base.

-- In another Nangarhar operation, a security team searched a compound and captured a Taliban weapons operator responsible for acquiring weapons and ammunition for militant cells and involved in ambushes against coalition troops.

-- A combined security force searched a compound in Paktika province when intelligence information confirmed militant activity. The force captured a terrorist cell subcommander responsible for ordering the killings of Afghan citizens who cooperated with the government. When directly confronted, the man identified himself and surrendered.

-- In Zabul province, a combined security force searched a compound and captured a Taliban weapons facilitator responsible for weapons and supply movements to various militant cells.

-- A security force searched a compound in Zabul after intelligence information indicated militant activity. During the search the security force captured a Taliban facilitator who participated in attacks on coalition forces and runs an early warning system for various militant networks.

-- An Afghan civilian told forces about a weapons cache in Herat province. When a security force investigated the report, it found two rockets and detonation cord. The items were destroyed.

-- Afghan forces discovered a weapons cache in a cave in Kunar province consisting of assault rifle magazines with 1,440 rounds of ammunition.

-- In Paktika province, Afghan police worked with international forces to find a weapons cache consisting of 46 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 191 high-explosives rounds, two white phosphorous rounds, 69 recoilless rifle rounds, 43 primers, 16 rocket-propelled grenade boosters, 34 assorted fuses, 88 cases of rounds, and assorted small-arms ammunition.

In operations March 6:

-- A force captured a Taliban weapons facilitator in Ghazni province. The man, responsible for supplying arms to various militant networks, was captured during the search of a compound.

-- A combined force discovered a weapons cache after receiving a tip from a resident in Helmand province. The cache consisted of four hand grenades, 76 boxes of rounds, 125 rounds of ammunition, two mortar fuses and other munitions. They were destroyed on site.

-- A combined force searched a compound in Kandahar province after getting reports of militant activity. During the operation a few suspected militants were detained, one of whom was identified as a Taliban subcommander responsible for controlling weapons caches and explosive attacks.

-- A force found a weapons cache in Kandahar province that had six homemade bombs, each containing 40 to 60 pounds of homemade explosives, a 20-pound jug of homemade explosives and small-arms ammunition. The cache was destroyed.

-- In Farah province, an engineer patrol found seven Russian cluster bombs. The weapons will be destroyed.

In operations March 5:

-- An insurgent commander was killed while attempting to plant a homemade bomb in Helmand province.

-- Afghan forces operating with international forces in Kandahar province discovered a weapons cache including a rocket-propelled grenade, three grenades, a jug filled with various types of small-arms ammunition, multiple assault rifle magazines and a blasting cap.

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

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