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Afghan, International Forces Strike Blow in Helmand

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2010 – Afghan and coalition forces struck a blow against insurgent operations in Helmand province over the weekend in one of several recent operations around Afghanistan, military officials reported.

Afghan forces working with International Security Assistance Force partners conducted an operation the night of June 19 south of Nad-e Ali to degrade insurgents' ability to coordinate attacks and move of weapons and bomb-making materials around the area, officials said.

After surrounding a compound housing a Taliban insurgent and his accomplices, Afghan special police ensured all residents of the compound exited safely. Several women and children were protected while several men were detained, along with an assault weapon and an undisclosed amount of opium. Two of the detained men were positively identified as Taliban commanders who planned and conducted numerous attacks in Nad-e Ali, and supplied weapons into the area.

In a separate operation the same night, an Afghan-international security force detained a number of suspected insurgents in Kandahar province while pursuing the Taliban commander responsible for insurgent activity in the western part of the province. The security force detained the men and found a 45-pound bag of wet opium while searching a compound in the province’s Panjwai district.

No shots were fired, and women and children present during the search were protected by the combined security force, officials said.

Also that night, a separate Afghan-international security force detained several suspected insurgents while pursuing a Haqqani terrorist network commander in Khost province’s Sabari district. The security force also found and destroyed several homemade bombs during the operation. Women and children present were protected by the combined force throughout the search, and no damage was done to the compounds.

In Logar province’s Baraki Barak district that night, another Afghan-international security force detained two suspected insurgents while pursuing a Taliban subcommander linked to bombing and rocket attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. No shots were fired, and women and children present during the search were protected by the combined force.

On June 19, Afghan and international forces conducted operations against the Haqqani network along the border of Khost and Paktia provinces overnight and throughout the day. Precision air strikes were used in self-defense against a large number of armed insurgents, officials said.

“We are aware of conflicting reports of civilian casualties made by local officials,” ISAF officials said in a written statement, “and are therefore reviewing the operational details of the engagement. Our mission is to protect the population, and we will accept full responsibility if civilians were unintentionally harmed in this intense fight against insurgents.”

Over that same night, an Afghan-international security force killed a Taliban subcommander along with a number of insurgents in Kunduz province’s Chahar Darah district. Mullah Abdul Razaq was responsible for moving suicide operatives throughout the eastern part of the province, officials said, and was the Taliban military commander in Talaqwa Village. Afghan police confirmed Razaq’s death.

Multiple intelligence reports named Razaq as a suspect in a roadside-bomb attack that killed two American soldiers June 16.

The security force searched a compound in the Chahar Darah district, where they were fired upon by individuals armed with automatic weapons and grenades. The combined force returned fire and secured the compound.

During the search, a civilian man came out of his home and told Afghan and coalition forces that the Taliban use the road near the compound daily and that the insurgents frequently stay in the mosque behind his home. The Taliban continue to use mosques as safe havens and weapons storage sites, knowing that international forces are not allowed to enter, officials said.

A significant cache of automatic weapons, magazines full of ammunition, grenades and an RPG launcher with rounds were found at the compound. Women and children present were protected by the combined force during the search.

A separate Afghan-international security force captured a Taliban commander and several suspected insurgents in Zabul province that night. The commander is linked to roadside-bomb attacks along the road connecting Zabul to the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The security force searched a series of compounds in a remote area of Shah Joy district after receiving intelligence reports on the Taliban commander's whereabouts. No shots were fired during the search, and women and children present were protected by the combined force.

In a June 18 operation, a combined Afghan-international security force killed a suspected insurgent, detained several other suspected insurgents and found bomb-making materials while pursuing a senior Taliban commander in Helmand province. As the security force approached a compound in the Lashkar Gah district, they immediately received fire from an individual outside the compound. The combined force returned fire, killing him.

After securing the compound, the assault force found seven containers of homemade explosives, multiple initiators and bomb-making materials, which they destroyed.

A separate Afghan-international security force detained several suspected insurgents the night of June 18 while pursuing a Taliban shadow governor responsible for attacks against coalition forces in Logar province.

The security force searched a series of compounds south of Karizeh Zafaran after intelligence sources confirmed insurgent activity. During the search, the combined force found a more than 50 pounds of ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used in the manufacture of explosives and is banned by the Afghan government.

While preparing to depart the area, the force killed a man who fired on them. Women and children present were protected by the combined force, and no buildings were damaged.

On June 17, Afghan army commandos, assisted by U.S. special operations forces, killed a number of insurgents in Badghis province while searching for an insurgent commander.

The Afghan-led force was in the Morghab district when they were attacked by insurgents using heavy small-arms, machine gun and rocket-propelled-grenade fire from fortified positions. The combined force returned fire and called in a precision air strike, killing many of the insurgents. There were no civilian casualties and no reports of civilian property damage, officials said.

 

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