Afghanistan — Afghan, International Forces Strike Blow in Helmand

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2010 — Afghan and coali­tion forces struck a blow against insur­gent oper­a­tions in Hel­mand province over the week­end in one of sev­er­al recent oper­a­tions around Afghanistan, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Afghan forces work­ing with Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force part­ners con­duct­ed an oper­a­tion the night of June 19 south of Nad-e Ali to degrade insur­gents’ abil­i­ty to coor­di­nate attacks and move of weapons and bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als around the area, offi­cials said.

After sur­round­ing a com­pound hous­ing a Tal­iban insur­gent and his accom­plices, Afghan spe­cial police ensured all res­i­dents of the com­pound exit­ed safe­ly. Sev­er­al women and chil­dren were pro­tect­ed while sev­er­al men were detained, along with an assault weapon and an undis­closed amount of opi­um. Two of the detained men were pos­i­tive­ly iden­ti­fied as Tal­iban com­man­ders who planned and con­duct­ed numer­ous attacks in Nad-e Ali, and sup­plied weapons into the area.

In a sep­a­rate oper­a­tion the same night, an Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force detained a num­ber of sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Kan­da­har province while pur­su­ing the Tal­iban com­man­der respon­si­ble for insur­gent activ­i­ty in the west­ern part of the province. The secu­ri­ty force detained the men and found a 45-pound bag of wet opi­um while search­ing a com­pound in the province’s Pan­jwai dis­trict.

No shots were fired, and women and chil­dren present dur­ing the search were pro­tect­ed by the com­bined secu­ri­ty force, offi­cials said.

Also that night, a sep­a­rate Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents while pur­su­ing a Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work com­man­der in Khost province’s Sabari dis­trict. The secu­ri­ty force also found and destroyed sev­er­al home­made bombs dur­ing the oper­a­tion. Women and chil­dren present were pro­tect­ed by the com­bined force through­out the search, and no dam­age was done to the com­pounds.

In Log­ar province’s Bara­ki Barak dis­trict that night, anoth­er Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force detained two sus­pect­ed insur­gents while pur­su­ing a Tal­iban sub­com­man­der linked to bomb­ing and rock­et attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces. No shots were fired, and women and chil­dren present dur­ing the search were pro­tect­ed by the com­bined force.

On June 19, Afghan and inter­na­tion­al forces con­duct­ed oper­a­tions against the Haqqani net­work along the bor­der of Khost and Pak­tia provinces overnight and through­out the day. Pre­ci­sion air strikes were used in self-defense against a large num­ber of armed insur­gents, offi­cials said.

“We are aware of con­flict­ing reports of civil­ian casu­al­ties made by local offi­cials,” ISAF offi­cials said in a writ­ten state­ment, “and are there­fore review­ing the oper­a­tional details of the engage­ment. Our mis­sion is to pro­tect the pop­u­la­tion, and we will accept full respon­si­bil­i­ty if civil­ians were unin­ten­tion­al­ly harmed in this intense fight against insur­gents.”

Over that same night, an Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force killed a Tal­iban sub­com­man­der along with a num­ber of insur­gents in Kun­duz province’s Cha­har Darah dis­trict. Mul­lah Abdul Razaq was respon­si­ble for mov­ing sui­cide oper­a­tives through­out the east­ern part of the province, offi­cials said, and was the Tal­iban mil­i­tary com­man­der in Talaqwa Vil­lage. Afghan police con­firmed Razaq’s death.

Mul­ti­ple intel­li­gence reports named Razaq as a sus­pect in a road­side-bomb attack that killed two Amer­i­can sol­diers June 16.

The secu­ri­ty force searched a com­pound in the Cha­har Darah dis­trict, where they were fired upon by indi­vid­u­als armed with auto­mat­ic weapons and grenades. The com­bined force returned fire and secured the com­pound.

Dur­ing the search, a civil­ian man came out of his home and told Afghan and coali­tion forces that the Tal­iban use the road near the com­pound dai­ly and that the insur­gents fre­quent­ly stay in the mosque behind his home. The Tal­iban con­tin­ue to use mosques as safe havens and weapons stor­age sites, know­ing that inter­na­tion­al forces are not allowed to enter, offi­cials said.

A sig­nif­i­cant cache of auto­mat­ic weapons, mag­a­zines full of ammu­ni­tion, grenades and an RPG launch­er with rounds were found at the com­pound. Women and chil­dren present were pro­tect­ed by the com­bined force dur­ing the search.

A sep­a­rate Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force cap­tured a Tal­iban com­man­der and sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Zab­ul province that night. The com­man­der is linked to road­side-bomb attacks along the road con­nect­ing Zab­ul to the Afghan cap­i­tal of Kab­ul.

The secu­ri­ty force searched a series of com­pounds in a remote area of Shah Joy dis­trict after receiv­ing intel­li­gence reports on the Tal­iban commander’s where­abouts. No shots were fired dur­ing the search, and women and chil­dren present were pro­tect­ed by the com­bined force.

In a June 18 oper­a­tion, a com­bined Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force killed a sus­pect­ed insur­gent, detained sev­er­al oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents and found bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als while pur­su­ing a senior Tal­iban com­man­der in Hel­mand province. As the secu­ri­ty force approached a com­pound in the Lashkar Gah dis­trict, they imme­di­ate­ly received fire from an indi­vid­ual out­side the com­pound. The com­bined force returned fire, killing him.

After secur­ing the com­pound, the assault force found sev­en con­tain­ers of home­made explo­sives, mul­ti­ple ini­tia­tors and bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als, which they destroyed.

A sep­a­rate Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents the night of June 18 while pur­su­ing a Tal­iban shad­ow gov­er­nor respon­si­ble for attacks against coali­tion forces in Log­ar province.

The secu­ri­ty force searched a series of com­pounds south of Karizeh Zafaran after intel­li­gence sources con­firmed insur­gent activ­i­ty. Dur­ing the search, the com­bined force found a more than 50 pounds of ammo­ni­um nitrate, which is com­mon­ly used in the man­u­fac­ture of explo­sives and is banned by the Afghan gov­ern­ment.

While prepar­ing to depart the area, the force killed a man who fired on them. Women and chil­dren present were pro­tect­ed by the com­bined force, and no build­ings were dam­aged.

On June 17, Afghan army com­man­dos, assist­ed by U.S. spe­cial oper­a­tions forces, killed a num­ber of insur­gents in Badghis province while search­ing for an insur­gent com­man­der.

The Afghan-led force was in the Morghab dis­trict when they were attacked by insur­gents using heavy small-arms, machine gun and rock­et-pro­pelled-grenade fire from for­ti­fied posi­tions. The com­bined force returned fire and called in a pre­ci­sion air strike, killing many of the insur­gents. There were no civil­ian casu­al­ties and no reports of civil­ian prop­er­ty dam­age, offi­cials said.

Source:
Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es