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Zabul Province Blast Kills Several Afghan Villagers

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2010 – Several Afghan civilians were killed today in an improvised explosive device blast in the Qalat district of Zabul province.

Afghan National Police members responded to the scene of the blast and transported the wounded to a local hospital.

"The ugly face of this insurgency continues to show itself. This loss of innocent life is an awful reminder of the indiscriminate weapons insurgents use," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command's Combined Joint Operations Center director.

"Our thoughts and concerns are with the victim's families,” Torres continued. “We'll work with our Afghan partners to find those responsible for this attack and bring them to justice."

In yesterday’s Afghanistan news:

-- Afghan and coalition forces secured and destroyed about 2,200 pounds of homemade explosives during an operation in Ghazni province. Multiple intelligence reports and tips from residents led the combined security force to the cache, which was rigged to explode. An ISAF explosive ordnance disposal disarmed the explosives and destroyed the cache.

-- A combined patrol killed an insurgent and detained another during a routine interdiction operation in Zabul’s Shinkai district. During the roadblock, a group of men in a vehicle attempted to bypass the force, raising their weapons as they passed the force. Declaring hostile intent, the security force fired at the men. The vehicle came to a stop and the occupants attempted to flee into the surrounding hillside. The force pursued the men and located one wounded man. The force immediately provided medical aid, but the man died of his wounds. One man was detained during the operation.

-- A combined patrol raided two narcotics laboratories in southern Helmand province. During a search of the labs, the patrol found about 1,300 pounds of hashish, drug manufacturing equipment, packaging materials and IED components. In the same area, the force noticed a suspicious bunker and upon further investigation, found an underground narcotics lab. They detained a man there who was in possession of an AK-47 rifle and a pistol with ammunition. Noticing a similar bunker nearby, the force found another lab with drugs and processing equipment. The drugs, IED components, weapons and processing equipment were destroyed on site.

-- Coalition forces discovered more than 3,000 pounds of homemade explosives in about 70 barrels hidden in an abandoned building in eastern Afghanistan. The discovery was made while the force was conducting search and clearing operations in the Andar district of Ghazni province. Coalition explosive ordnance disposal soldiers destroyed the material on site.

-- Afghan and coalition forces killed an insurgent and detained two others in Wardak province during an operation targeting a Taliban leader active in IED and direct fire attacks and kidnappings on Highway 1, one of the busiest routes in the country. Intelligence tips led the force to a compound in the Sayed Abad district. As the force cleared the compound, they killed an armed insurgent demonstrating hostile intent. The force found a hand grenade and an automatic weapon on the insurgent. When the area was secure, the force detained two suspected insurgents.

-- A combined force captured a Taliban member involved in the construction of suicide vests and vehicle-borne IEDs, during an operation in Kandahar province. The man is directly linked to recent suicide attacks and is known to have housed suicide attackers. He also coordinated weapons and explosives in preparation for attacks in Kandahar City. Intelligence tips led the force to a tent outside Kandahar City to search for the suspect. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the tent peacefully, then the security force cleared and secured the area. After questioning residents, the force detained the suspect.

-- Combined forces detained several suspects in three operations in eastern and southern Afghanistan aimed at capturing Taliban and Haqqani Network leaders. A force targeted a Haqqani Network senior leader, who manages Haqqani operations in Pakistan and the movement of foreign fighters from Pakistan into Afghanistan, detaining several suspects during an operation in Khost province. Intelligence tips led the force to a remote compound in the Khost district to search for the suspect. After clearing the compound and questioning residents, the force detained the suspects. In Kandahar province, a separate force targeted a Taliban senior leader known to construct IEDs and suicide vests. Intelligence reports led the force to a compound in the Dand district where the force detained several suspects. To the west in Helmand province, another security force searched for a Taliban leader who transports weapons into the Now Zad district. Based on intelligence tips, the force targeted a compound in the Musa Qal'ah district to search for the suspect. The force detained several insurgents. They did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children for the duration of the searches.

-- A combined force targeted a mid-level Taliban leader who commands an attack cell and moves weapons in Zabul’s Shah Joy district. Intelligence tips led the force to a remote compound where they used a loudspeaker to clear the area. During the clearance, a man was killed when he showed hostile intent toward the force. After the area was secure, the force questioned residents at the scene before detaining several suspected insurgents. The force also pursued several armed men who fled the compound. During the pursuit, an armed insurgent demonstrated hostile intent toward the force, which responded, killing him. The force found a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with multiple rounds and an automatic weapon with multiple magazines at the scene.

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