Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill 23 in Helmand Engagements

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2010 — Twen­ty-three ene­my fight­ers are dead after insur­gents attacked Afghan and coali­tion forces con­duct­ing a com­bined dis­mount­ed patrol on three sep­a­rate occa­sions in the San­gin dis­trict of Afghanistan’s Hel­mand province yes­ter­day, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Dur­ing the first engage­ment, Afghan and coali­tion forces returned fire with machine guns, mor­tars and a light anti-armor weapon. When the insur­gent fire con­tin­ued, the force called for artillery rock­et fire and suc­cess­ful­ly sup­pressed the threat.

Dur­ing sev­er­al addi­tion­al small-arms engage­ments with insur­gents, coali­tion forces called for artillery rock­et fire and air sup­port. Over the course of the engage­ments, coali­tion forces struck three insur­gent fir­ing posi­tions locat­ed inside com­pounds, one with an air­craft-fired pre­ci­sion-guid­ed muni­tion and two with artillery rock­et fire.

The com­bined force ceased fire when women and chil­dren moved into the area where the insur­gent fire had orig­i­nat­ed. Accord­ing to ini­tial reports, up to 14 insur­gents were killed in the first engage­ment.

In the sec­ond inci­dent, insur­gents attacked a com­bined Afghan and coali­tion patrol with small-arms, machine-gun and mor­tar fire from a tree line. The patrol pos­i­tive­ly iden­ti­fied the insur­gents’ fir­ing posi­tions and respond­ed with small-arms, machine-gun and mor­tar fire. When insur­gent fir­ing con­tin­ued, the patrol fired artillery rock­ets.

Accord­ing to ini­tial reports, up to five insur­gents were killed in the engage­ment.

In the third inci­dent, insur­gents attacked a coali­tion patrol base with small-arms fire. Coali­tion forces pos­i­tive­ly iden­ti­fied the insur­gent fir­ing posi­tions and returned the insur­gents’ fire with small-arms, machine-gun and mor­tar fire. The forces also fired a portable mis­sile at an insur­gent fir­ing posi­tion in a com­pound. When the insur­gent fire con­tin­ued from mul­ti­ple fir­ing posi­tions, coali­tion forces called for air sup­port.

A coali­tion air­craft struck an insur­gent posi­tion that had been used on three sep­a­rate occa­sions through­out the engage­ment with a pre­ci­sion-guid­ed muni­tion. The insur­gent fire ceased fol­low­ing the air strike. Ini­tial coali­tion reports indi­cate up to five insur­gents were killed in the third engage­ment.

In oth­er news from Afghanistan, Afghan and coali­tion forces killed three known man­u­fac­tur­ers and facil­i­ta­tors of road­side bombs dur­ing an oper­a­tion today in War­dak province.

Else­where, Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty forces cap­tured a Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work sub­com­man­der who was in charge of oper­a­tions in Pak­tia province, as well as two of his asso­ciates, dur­ing an intel­li­gence-dri­ven oper­a­tion overnight in Khost province.

The secu­ri­ty force dis­cov­ered a pis­tol, a grenade, mul­ti­ple bay­o­nets and loaded ammu­ni­tion mag­a­zines at the scene. They did not fire their weapons, and they pro­tect­ed the women and chil­dren dur­ing the search.

In Kapisa province’s Tagab dis­trict yes­ter­day, an Afghan civil­ian was killed by a group of unknown gun­men.

Dur­ing a com­bined Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty patrol, a speed­ing vehi­cle approached the con­voy. When the vehi­cle stopped short of the con­voy, a man jumped out of the vehi­cle and ran from the patrol. The vehicle’s dri­ver then attempt­ed to block the patrol’s access to the flee­ing man.

The man ran over a hill and around a bend in the road — out of sight of the patrol — in what appeared to be an attempt to avoid Afghan and coali­tion forces.

A near­by coali­tion heli­copter in sup­port of the patrol respond­ed and tracked the flee­ing man. Short­ly after­ward, the heli­copter crew saw the man hit with small-arms fire from an unknown loca­tion. The man fell, bleed­ing from the chest.

The heli­copter crew guid­ed the patrol to the fall­en man, and the patrol’s medic tried unsuc­cess­ful­ly to save the man’s life.

As it began to evac­u­ate the body to the local Afghan police sta­tion, the com­bined patrol was ambushed by about 25 insur­gents. The engage­ment last­ed for near­ly five hours, and the coali­tion force was engaged with auto­mat­ic weapons, rock­et-pro­pelled grenades and mor­tars.

About 10 insur­gents were killed dur­ing the engage­ment. Because a pop­u­lat­ed area was near­by, offi­cials said, Afghan and coali­tion forces were pre­cise and restrained in their use of force.

Once the patrol returned to the coali­tion base, the local police chief took cus­tody of the Afghan civilian’s body to turn over to the fam­i­ly. The police chief said he would begin an inves­ti­ga­tion into the mur­der.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es

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