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Forces Battle Insurgents; Taliban Chief Orders Civilian Deaths

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2010 – An Afghan-international security force killed and wounded several insurgents in Nimroz province yesterday during an operation to capture a Taliban subcommander known to arrange safe havens for insurgent leaders, military officials reported.

Also, a top Taliban chieftain ordered subordinates to kill innocent Afghan civilians, officials said.

In the Nimroz province operation a combined security force came upon a vehicle containing insurgent suspects. As the security force approached the vehicle, they were engaged by two insurgents. The security force killed both insurgents. The force found several automatic weapons with rounds and rocket-propelled grenades in the vehicle.

Based on information gathered from the vehicle, the Afghan partner unit identified a second vehicle attempting to hide within the village. When the security force tried to stop the vehicle, the occupants exited and attempted to engage the force with multiple weapons. Several insurgents were killed and wounded. No civilians were injured during this operation.

Insurgents in Nimroz province also are involved in weapons facilitation, and the group has ordered the execution of kidnapped Afghan civilians suspected of spying for Afghan and ISAF forces. In early June, the ISAF intercepted orders from Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar, who directed his fighters to kill innocent Afghan civilians. This order is in direct contradiction to Omar’s instructions last year urging his followers to minimize civilian casualties in an attempt to compete with the ISAF’s population-centric tactical directives.

Omar’s newest directive orders his commanders to: fight coalition forces to the death without withdrawing or surrendering, while attempting to capture coalition forces whenever possible; capture and kill any Afghan who is supporting or working for coalition forces or the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; capture and kill any Afghan women who are helping or providing information to coalition forces; recruit anyone who has access to coalition force bases and has the ability to collect detailed information about coalition forces; purchase or obtain more heavy weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and anti-aircraft machine guns.

"This [order] proves the Taliban are willing to ignore their own Code of Conduct when they sense they are losing influence and control," said Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, ISAF spokesperson, "as today's attack against several Afghan civilians were killed and injured by a suicide attack in a residential area in Kabul today demonstrates."

Recent insurgent-caused civilian casualty data from ISAF estimates insurgent actions have caused 479 civilian deaths between Jan. 1 and June 30, with 116 of those occurring in the month of June.

In other July 18 news:

-- An Afghan civilian was killed when an Afghan National Police patrol struck an improvised explosive device in Kandahar City. ISAF forces responded to the scene and provided support. Insurgents have killed nearly 80 civilians and wounded more than 150 others in the past two weeks, officials said.

-- Several Afghan civilians were killed and injured during a suicide attack in a residential area in Kabul. Afghan National Police were at the scene and are investigating. No ISAF servicemembers were injured in the attack.

-- An Afghan-international security force in Kabul captured a Taliban facilitator who was considered a direct threat to the July 20 Kabul International Conference. The combined security force went to a compound outside Katasana in Musahi district to capture the facilitator, who has direct ties to the Kabul Attack Network and is responsible for improvised explosive device and vehicle-borne IED attacks. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to peacefully exit the buildings. After the compound was cleared and secured, the combined security force detained the facilitator. No shots were fired and women and children were protected by the combined security force. The Kabul conference will bring together representatives of more than 70 partner countries, international and regional organizations and financial institutions to deliberate and endorse an Afghan government-led plan for improved development, governance and stability.

Afghanistan news for July 17:

-- Afghan and coalition forces captured a Taliban subcommander and two additional facilitators, all considered direct threats to the Kabul conference. A separate Afghan-international security force killed several insurgents and detained a suspected insurgent while pursuing a Taliban weapons facilitator in Kandahar province. The facilitator also assists with the movement of foreign fighters into the area and coordinates assassinations within Kandahar. As the security force approached a compound northeast of Makuan in Zharay district they were immediately engaged by a number of armed insurgents. The security force returned fire, killing several of the insurgents. After the initial engagement, the security force discovered an IED on a foot path leading to the targeted compound and subsequently identified multiple IEDs rigged throughout the buildings in the compound. As the force continued their search they found a homemade explosives factory and a complex bunker system containing rocket-propelled grenades emptied of their explosives. Women and children were protected by the combined security force.

-- Another Afghan-international security force detained a suspected insurgent in Zabul province while pursuing a Shah Joy district Taliban commander. The combined force went to a series of compounds in Molla Bahlul Kowrunah in Shah Joy district. After clearing and securing the area, the security force interviewed the residents of the targeted compound and detained the suspected insurgent. No shots were fired and women and children present were protected by the combined security force.

Afghanistan news for July 16:

-- An Afghan-international security force killed several insurgents in the Deh Chopan district of Zabul province when insurgents attacked the combined force with small-arms fire. The attack came only minutes after the combined force had met with villagers as part of an engagement initiative to build relationships and increase awareness of the Afghanistan government’s goals and objectives. The combined force received machine gun and AK-47 fire from an unknown number of insurgents in multiple firing positions. The combined force returned fire and called in close-air support to drop precision guided munitions on the insurgent firing positions. Several insurgents were killed in the engagement, while others fled the scene.

-- An Afghan-international force captured a Taliban IED facilitator in Kabul after intelligence indicated he was involved in coordinating an attack in Kabul during the Kabul conference. A combined security force went to a compound in the city and Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to peacefully exit the buildings. After the compound was cleared and secured, the combined security force detained the facilitator along with several other suspected insurgents. No damage was done to the compound and women and children were protected by the combined security force.

-- An Afghan-international security force detained several suspected insurgents in Kandahar province while pursuing a senior Taliban commander who operates from eastern Kandahar City. The commander is responsible for IED and indirect fire attacks and suicide bombings in and around Kandahar City. The security force detained the suspected insurgents for further questioning after interviewing residents of a targeted compound near Khersak in Arghandab district. No shots were fired and women and children were protected by the combined security force.

Afghanistan news for July 15:

-- An Afghan-international security force discovered nearly 2 tons of heroin as well as 1,800 pounds of raw opium and 200 pounds of ammonium nitrate during a security operation in the Now Zad district of Helmand province. The security force also detained two suspected insurgents who were transporting the drugs and explosive material, which was destroyed at the scene. No shots were fired. According to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials, the confiscated drugs have a U.S. street value of more than $38 million. The ammonium nitrate could be used to produce about 25 IEDs. The combined security force was pursuing a senior Taliban commander operating in northern Helmand province who also is involved in the purchase and distribution of IED-making material. The Afghan-international forces discovered the drugs and illegal fertilizer in an area east of Urmuz in Now Zad district. Helmand province has seen heavy fighting between coalition forces and the Taliban, who are deeply entrenched in the villages of the poppy-producing region. The Taliban are known to use the proceeds from the sale of drugs to pay for weapons, IED components, explosives and foreign fighters who are being brought into Kandahar and Helmand provinces by the Taliban.

"Drugs, weapons, bombs, foreign fighters and violence-this is what the Taliban offers the people of Afghanistan," said Col. Rafael Torres, ISAF Joint Command's Combined Joint Operations Center director. Afghan and international forces, Torres added, will “continue to interdict the drugs used to fund insurgent activity and give the people of Helmand the opportunity that security and stability will bring.”

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected insurgents in Helmand province while pursuing a Taliban military commander in charge of fighters in parts of Marjah and Nad 'Ali districts. The security force went to a compound in rural Nad 'Ali district to search the area. After securing the area, the security force interviewed residents of the targeted compounds and then detained the suspected insurgents. Last month Afghan and international forces killed Maulawi Mahmood, a recently appointed senior Taliban commander for Maiwand district in western Kandahar province.

 

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