WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2010 — Afghan and International Security Assistance Force troops today killed 15 insurgents and detained several suspects during a joint operation that targeted a senior Taliban leader in Afghanistan’s northern Helmand province.
The targeted senior Taliban leader is a former Taliban deputy shadow governor of Helmand and is a member of the group’s military commission which oversees and guides all Taliban military actions there.
Multiple intelligence reports and residents’ tips led the combined security force to the Taliban leader’s location in the Baghran district. Upon arrival, the force immediately took fire from insurgents. The force returned fire, killing four insurgents.
After securing the compounds, the Afghan force conducted a series of call-outs, allowing occupants to exit peacefully. A total of six men, six women and 12 children exited peacefully and were protected.
An improvised explosive device factory was discovered at the compound with live IEDs protecting it. A large weapons cache that included rocket-propelled grenades and explosives also was found. The security force withdrew a safe distance from the compounds and destroyed them to render the area safe.
As the combined force prepared to leave, 11 heavily-armed insurgents in three vehicles and six motorcycles approached the force at high speed. Determining them a threat, close-air support assets fired on the approaching insurgents, killing all 11.
In other operations today:
— The ISAF confirmed that an Afghan security force, backed by coalition forces, captured a Taliban leader in charge of an IED cell during an operation in Khost province Oct. 23. Intelligence information led the security force to an Islamic school in the Nadir Shah Kot district to search for the suspect. An Afghan-only force used a loudspeaker to call for occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, then cleared and secured the building. After initial questioning at the scene, the force detained the targeted man and several of his associates.
In overnight operations:
— A combined captured the senior leader of the main Taliban assassination cell in Kandahar City during an operation there. The group is believed responsible for several assassinations of Afghan government officials, including the deputy mayor of Kandahar City and a National Defense Service officer killed earlier this month. Based on intelligence tips, the force targeted a compound in Kandahar City. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, then the security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the force identified and detained the man and several of his associates.
— A combined force targeting a Haqqani network leader who coordinates and conducts attacks using rockets, recoilless rifles and machine guns, discovered and destroyed a compound rigged with IEDs in Khost province. Intelligence tips led the force to a remote compound in the Sabari district. As the force moved to clear the compound, they triggered a trip-wire IED, causing an explosion. After two additional explosions, an explosive ordinance disposal team determined the compound was booby-trapped with IEDs. The force questioned civilians in the area who confirmed the compound was abandoned. Coalition forces then conducted a precision strike, destroying the compound. No Afghan or coalition security forces were seriously injured during the operation.
In neighboring Paktika province, a separate security force targeted a Haqqani Network member who coordinates vehicle-borne IEDs and Haqqani fighters reportedly from Pakistan. The force detained one suspectat a remote compound in the Ziruk district while searching for the targeted man.
— A combined force killed Mustafa, a Taliban leader who commanded a cell of fighters who placed IEDs along public roads in Paktika province. Intelligence reports led the force to a compound in the Omnah district to search for the man. As the force approached, Mustafa, armed with an AK-47 rifle, emerged from the compound and threatened the security force. The force reacted by shooting and killing him. After the area was secure, Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, then the force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning, the force detained two suspected insurgents. Additionally, armed insurgents engaged the security force from a ridgeline near the targeted compound. Coalition forces returned fire, killing two additional insurgents.
— An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban member known to lead IED attacks along the heavily-travelled Highway 1 during an operation in Zabul province. Based on intelligence tips, the force targeted a series of tents in the remote Shah Joy district where they found IED material including a 155 mm round. After initial questioning, the security force identified and detained the suspect and one of his associates. The security force destroyed the IED material before leaving the scene.
In yesterday’s operations:
— Combined forces seized more than 3,000 pounds of opium during routine traffic stops in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Multiple intelligence sources and residents’ tips led the force to a narcotics infiltration route where they conducted vehicle interdictions to stop the illegal flow of narcotics into Pakistan. One armed man was killed when he attempted to fire on the security force as he tried to retreat from the scene. Several other men were detained for questioning by Afghan security forces. The opium and weapons were destroyed at the scene.
— Combined forces arrested a Taliban leader known to provide support and assistance to Taliban fighters in the area, during an operation in the Ab Band district of Ghanzi province. Multiple intelligence sources and residents’ tips led the combined security force to the Taliban leader’s location. After securing the suspected insurgent location, Afghan forces called for occupants to exit peacefully. While searching the location, the forces discovered numerous automatic weapons, RPGs and communication devices. After initial questioning, the forces detained the suspected Taliban leader and another suspected insurgent without incident. The force destroyed the weapons, RPGs and grenades prior to departing the scene.
— Combined forces targeting a Taliban senior leader in Badghis province, killed two insurgents when they threatened the force. The Taliban leader is responsible for attacks against military forces, as well as kidnapping operations. He also reportedly planned and directed a recent ambush that killed two Spanish soldiers. Intelligence information led the force to a remote compound in the Morghab district where Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, then the joint security force began clearing the compound. During the clearance, the force killed two armed men when they threatened the force. After initial questioning, the security force detained two suspected insurgents and secured multiple automatic weapons.
— A combined force repelled an attack and killed several insurgents in the Sangin district of Helmand. The combined force came under attack from a group of insurgents in a tree line during a dismounted patrol in the district. After identifying the insurgents’ firing position, the force returned fire. When the insurgent fire continued, a coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike and two artillery rockets were fired at the tree line, resulting in several insurgents killed. Initial reporting indicates there were no civilian casualties. — In eastern Afghanistan, an ISAF unit found an IED cache in the Sarobi district of Paktika province. The cache included 25 60 mm mortars with wiring and a cone-shaped container containing about 30 pounds of homemade explosives.
— The ISAF confirmed the Oct. 20 capture of a Taliban member responsible for coordinating vehicle-borne IED attacks during an overnight operation in Kandahar.
— The ISAF condemned the Oct. 23 insurgent attack against a United Nations operations center in the Herat district of Herat province. According to the U.N., the attack did not disrupt U.N. activities and no U.N. personnel were injured. Two Afghan security officers were wounded in the attack. The U.N. has pledged to continue operating with Afghan authorities in western Afghanistan to aid the Afghans in need. Afghan security forces responded to the attack, and ISAF provided air support. In earlier operations:
— In the Kandahar district of Kandahar, Afghan national police and coalition forces on Oct. 23 discovered a truck containing 15 bags of what was believed to be home-made explosives. An explosive ordnance disposal unit was called in and confirmed the material was an element used in making explosives. The driver of the truck, the truck and the material were taken to a police station. Also, an Afghan police and coalition force found 300 to 400, 110-pound bags of ammonium nitrate while on patrol. After they were determined safe for transport by an EOD unit, the materials were taken to a coalition facility and destroyed.
— ISAF troops conducted a precision airstrike to destroy a home-made explosives storage site in the Reg‑e Khan Neshin district of Helmand on Oct. 23. Multiple intelligence sources and tips from Afghan cilians led ISAF to a home-made explosives storage site. After several hours of surveillance, ISAF confirmed the site when they observed two insurgents in the process of storing hundreds of kilograms of home-made explosives. After confirming there were no civilians present, ISAF destroyed the facility with a precision airstrike. The two insurgents were killed in the explosion. Large secondary explosions were seen, indicating a large amount of explosives were at the site.
— ISAF troops repelled an insurgent attack while conducting a dismounted patrol in Helmand’s Sangin district Oct. 23. Insurgents used small-arms fire in the attack. Coalition forces identified the insurgent firing position and returned fire. During the ensuing firefight, the ISAF troops called in air support to suppress the enemy fire. The resulting close-air support and ground force firefight killed several insurgents. Initial reports indicate that all rounds were observed striking their intended target, causing no damage to local buildings and no civilian casualties.
— Two Afghan civilians were possibly killed Oct. 23 when insurgents attacked a coalition patrol in the Maidan Shahr district of Wardak province. A coalition unit was on a patrol when they were attacked by insurgents with an IED. The coalition forces stopped the patrol to investigate the explosion and clear the area of any more IEDs. Once the patrol stopped, they began receiving small-arms fire from an unknown number of insurgents. The patrol returned fire. During the attack, three Afghan civilians on a motorcycle entered the engagement area. Two of them fell off the vehicle and were taken away by local villagers. Their condition could not be verified by coalition forces before they were taken away. Coalition and Afghan security forces are investigating the incident.
— A combined security force captured a Taliban leader involved in direct-fire, indirect-fire and IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, during an Oct. 23 operation in Paktika province. Based on intelligence reports, the force targeted a compound in the Yahya Kheyl district to search for the suspect. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, then the force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning, the force identified and detained the suspect and four of his associates.
— Combined forces detained numerous suspected insurgents during several Oct. 23 operations aimed at capturing Taliban leadership in northern and eastern Afghanistan. In northern Badghis province, Afghan and coalition forces conducted an operation targeting a Taliban senior leader who leads Taliban meetings in the Ghormach district and commands about 25 fighters in the province. The force tracked a suspect to a secluded area where he was detained peacefully. A separate security force targeted a Taliban leader in Nangarhar province, who planned and led attacks during the September elections and coordinates attacks against the military in Sherzad district. They detained two suspects. In Khost province, security forces targeted a Taliban leader in charge of an IED cell in neighboring Paktiya province. After initial questioning, the force detained several suspected insurgents.
— An Afghan and coalition security force killed several insurgents and detained several suspects during an Oct. 23 operation in Paktika province.
— The ISAF conducted a precision airstrike targeting a senior Taliban leader in Helmand’s Baghran district Oct. 23. The senior leader commands and controls multiple cells of insurgents and is a senior weapons and explosives coordinator in Helmand’s Now Zad district. He also is believed responsible for attacks against Afghan forces and ISAF troops in the district and surrounding area. Multiple intelligence sources and tips from concerned citizens led ISAF to a meeting site in the Baghran district. After observing the meeting site for several hours, ISAF observed the suspected Taliban leader arrive with a group of armed insurgents. After careful planning to ensure no civilians were present, ISAF conducted the precision airstrike. The strike reportedly killed several insurgents.
— A coalition patrol discovered a large weapons cache in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar province Oct. 22. The cache consisted of 50 recoilless rifle rounds, 10 82 mm mortars, fuses and numerous machine gun rounds. An explosive ordnance disposal team disposed of the rifle rounds at the site. The mortar rounds were taken to a nearby coalition facility.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases