Afghan, Coalition Forces Pursue Taliban Commanders

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2010 — Afghan and coali­tion forces con­tin­ued their pur­suit of Tal­iban com­man­ders in recent oper­a­tions, tak­ing numer­ous insur­gents into cus­tody in the process, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

— Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty forces detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Hel­mand province yes­ter­day while in pur­suit of a Tal­iban com­man­der oper­at­ing in the province’s Nawah-ye Barakzai dis­trict. The com­man­der is respon­si­ble for con­duct­ing road­side-bomb attacks and kid­nap­ping Afghan civil­ians, and is being con­sid­ered to replace the for­mer dis­trict com­man­der, who was detained by an Afghan-led force in August.

ISAF offi­cials con­firmed the cap­ture of a Tal­iban com­man­der and two asso­ciates oper­at­ing in Mar­ja in Hel­mand province. The Tal­iban com­man­der, who also facil­i­tat­ed sup­plies for area fight­ers, was cap­tured dur­ing a Sept. 21 Afghan and coali­tion oper­a­tion. The secu­ri­ty force also found 45 pounds of wet opi­um, which often is ille­gal­ly traf­ficked to fund the insur­gency.

— In Zab­ul province’s Shah Joy dis­trict yes­ter­day, Afghan and coali­tion forces detained two sus­pect­ed insur­gents dur­ing their con­tin­ued pur­suit of a Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tor involved in obtain­ing com­po­nents for remote-con­trolled road­side-bombs.

— Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty forces detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Khost province yes­ter­day while in pur­suit of a senior Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work facil­i­ta­tor respon­si­ble for procur­ing bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als for use through­out the Pak­ti­ka, Pak­tia and Khost region. Coali­tion forces con­duct­ed a pre­ci­sion air strike tar­get­ing the facil­i­ta­tor in a remote area s in the Shamul dis­trict. A fol­low-on ground force learned the facil­i­ta­tor was wound­ed in the strike and was tak­en from the area. The secu­ri­ty force then detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents for fur­ther ques­tion­ing.

Afghan and coali­tion forces pro­tect any women and chil­dren present dur­ing their search­es, offi­cials said.

Mean­while, two road­side bombs injured at least 15 Afghan civil­ians in Jalal­abad last night. Insur­gents have been direct­ly tar­get­ing Afghan civil­ians and putting bombs in places where Afghans trav­el, work and gath­er in large num­bers, said Navy Rear Adm. Greg Smith, ISAF direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Yesterday’s attack occurred near the dis­trict prosecutor’s office in the Nan­ga­har provin­cial cap­i­tal.

“We con­demn this cal­lous attack against the Afghan peo­ple,” Smith said. “It is anoth­er demon­stra­tion of insur­gents’ con­tempt for inno­cent civil­ians. Our sym­pa­thies are with the fam­i­lies and friends of those harmed by this attack. ISAF stands shoul­der to shoul­der with our Afghan part­ners, and togeth­er we will con­tin­ue to dri­ve the insur­gents out of areas where they can hurt the Afghan peo­ple.”

Insur­gents com­mon­ly employ tac­tics that result in indis­crim­i­nate vio­lence, as evi­denced by their fre­quent use of road­side bombs, Smith said. Through mid-Sep­tem­ber, insur­gent bombs had killed and wound­ed about 1,500 inno­cent civil­ians, he added.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es

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