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Officials Give Update on Afghanistan Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2010 – International Security Assistance Force Joint Command officials in Afghanistan provided details on various operations conducted in Afghanistan in recent days:

-- A combined Afghan-international patrol stopped a vehicle and found 1,600 pounds of hashish in Helmand province’s Registan district yesterday. Two people in the vehicle were detained. They admitted their intent was to deliver the drugs to Taliban members in Barham Chah, and that the route the combined forced was traveling was a main drug-smuggling conduit.

-- An ISAF patrol found three 82mm mortar rounds in the Garm Ser district of Helmand province today.

-- A 9-year-old Afghan girl was treated by international forces after receiving shrapnel injuries during an insurgent attack on Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar province yesterday.

-- In Khost province yesterday, international forces treated three Afghan children who were wounded during an insurgent attack. The children were evacuated to a hospital after they were stabilized.

-- In the Arghandab district of Kandahar province yesterday, an Afghan-international patrol found a cache containing six Russian-made rocket-propelled grenades and six Chinese-made RPGs. Two people were detained.

-- In the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand yesterday, a combined force detained an insurgent and confiscated two assault rifles and two vests containing ammunition. The patrol also found two containers of small-arms ammunition near where the insurgent was detained.

-- In the Daman district of Kandahar yesterday, an Afghan police patrol found a 107 mm Chinese-made rocket with wires attached.

-- An Afghan-international patrol in Kandahar yesterday found a half-buried artillery shell in a grape field.

-- A combined Afghan-international force killed two militants while pursuing a Taliban commander in Zabul province March 20. When the security force attempted to stop a motorcycle carrying two suspected militants, the militants began firing on the combined force. The security force returned fire and killed them. The search team found an automatic rifle, a pistol, ammunition and a grenade.

-- An ISAF patrol found six mortar grenades in Ghazni province’s Gelan district March 20.

-- Afghan forces with ISAF partners captured several suspected insurgents March 18, including a senior roadside-bomb facilitator, in Helmand province. The combined force also seized more than 130 pounds of opium.

-- An Afghan-international security force detained two suspected militants for further questioning in the Now Zad district of Helmand province March 19 after intelligence information indicated militant activity there.

-- An ISAF patrol found six mortar grenades in the Gelan district of Ghazni province March 20.

-- Also on March 20, an Afghan police patrol in the Kandahar district of Kandahar province found an improvised explosive device consisting of a rocket head with wires protruding from it. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the device.

-- A local resident handed over an IED made of more than 30 pounds of fertilizer to a combined force in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province March 19. The device was subsequently destroyed. Another civilian told the force where to find a cache containing five pressure-plate devices and other items.

-- In the Sabari district of Khost province March 18, an Afghan turned in 76 rocket-propelled grenades to ISAF forces.

-- An ISAF patrol in the Murqur area of Badghis province was attacked by small-arms fire from insurgents March 17. The unit remained engaged with insurgents throughout the day, and remained in the area throughout the night. The next morning, the patrol again came under attack from insurgents. The patrol called for air support, and aircraft dropped several bombs on positively identified insurgent positions throughout the day. The firefight ended that evening, and the patrol subsequently reported several insurgents had been killed in the engagement. No civilian casualties were observed or reported, and there was no damage to civilian infrastructure, officials said.

In other news from Afghanistan, officials reported the circumstances that led to a civilian being shot and killed yesterday during an operation conducted by an Afghan-international force searching for a Taliban commander in the Chak-e Wardak district of Wardak province.

The combined force had gone to the village after intelligence discovered militant activity. Despite repeated requests in Dari, Pashtu, and Urdu for everyone to come out of their homes, a man was found inside one of the buildings. Officials said the assault force reacted to what they thought was hostile intent and shot the man.

It was subsequently determined the individual was an elderly man. No individuals were detained during this operation.

"We regret this loss of life and offer our condolences to the family," said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Michael Regner, ISAF Joint Command deputy chief of staff for joint operations. "Our combined forces take numerous precautions to prevent civilian casualties, and this incident is being reviewed together with our Afghan partners."

ISAF leaders will meet with local officials to discuss how to minimize future incidents, and the family will be offered compensation according to local customs.

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

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