Afghanistan — Air Strike Targets Senior Insurgent Leader

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2010 — Coali­tion forces in Afghanistan today employed a pre­ci­sion air strike against an Islam­ic Move­ment of Uzbek­istan senior mem­ber assessed to be the deputy shad­ow gov­er­nor for Takhar province, mil­i­tary offi­cials said.

The senior insur­gent mem­ber is linked to attacks involv­ing known IMU and Tal­iban mem­bers, and he is known to have trav­eled from Pak­istan to Takhar this spring.

Intel­li­gence tracked the insur­gents trav­el­ing in a sedan on a series of remote roads in Rus­taq dis­trict. After care­ful plan­ning to ensure no civil­ians were present, coali­tion air­craft con­duct­ed a pre­ci­sion air strike on one sedan and lat­er fol­lowed with direct fire from an aer­i­al plat­form. The vehi­cle was trav­el­ing as part of a six-car con­voy, but no oth­er vehi­cles were hit in the strike.

The secu­ri­ty force was unable to imme­di­ate­ly dis­patch a ground force to assess the results, but ini­tial reflec­tions indi­cate eight to 12 insur­gents were killed or injured in the strike, includ­ing a Tal­iban com­man­der. Mul­ti­ple pas­sen­gers of the vehi­cle were pos­i­tive­ly iden­ti­fied car­ry­ing weapons.

We’re aware of the alle­ga­tions that this strike caused civil­ian causal­i­ties and we’ll do our best to get to the bot­tom of the accu­sa­tions,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Garza, deputy chief of staff for joint oper­a­tions, Head­quar­ters ISAF Joint Com­mand. “What I can say is these vehi­cles were nowhere near a pop­u­lat­ed area and we’re con­fi­dent this strike hit only the tar­get­ed vehi­cle after days of track­ing the occu­pants’ activ­i­ty.”

In oth­er news:

– Mul­ti­ple intel­li­gence sources and tips from local cit­i­zens led Afghan and coali­tion forces to two large weapons caches which were secured and destroyed in the Saro­bi dis­trict of Kab­ul province. The caches con­tained 129 82 mm mor­tar rounds, 13 61 mm mor­tar rounds, 61 rock­et-pro­pelled grenade rounds, 25 boost­ers, one recoil­less rifle, one anti-per­son­nel mine, one heavy anti-air­craft gun, one vehi­cle gun mount, eight cans of ammu­ni­tion, two 107 mm rock­ets, 24 40 mm rock­ets and 10 rock­et fus­es. The caches were destroyed in place.

– Afghan secu­ri­ty forces and ISAF sol­diers from Task Force White Eagle and Brawler dis­rupt­ed insur­gents plac­ing an impro­vised explo­sive device dur­ing com­bat oper­a­tions in the Andar dis­trict of Ghazni province. An ISAF air weapons team observed five insur­gents emplac­ing an IED, made a pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and engaged them, killing all five. The site was inves­ti­gat­ed and the insur­gents’ remains were turned over to Afghan police while the IED, the com­mand wire, and sev­er­al rock­et-pro­pelled grenades were destroyed.

– Coali­tion forces repelled an insur­gent attack in the Bermel dis­trict of Pak­ti­ka province after a failed attack on Com­bat Out­post Mar­gah. The attack began in the ear­ly morn­ing with insur­gent small arms and indi­rect fire against the out­post. Sol­diers from the 1st Bat­tal­ion, 187th Infantry Reg­i­ment and 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 506th Infantry Reg­i­ment respond­ed to the attack with mor­tars and small-arms fire before call­ing for sup­port from Task Force Viper, 1st Bat­tal­ion, 3rd Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment. Air­craft con­duct­ed two pass­es over the area, killing at least 20 insur­gents in two sep­a­rate engage­ments. No coali­tion or Afghan forces were injured in the attack.

In Sept. 1 news:

– An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force detained two insur­gents in Log­ar province in their con­tin­ued pur­suit of a Tal­iban com­man­der, who leads 40 fight­ers in attacks against Afghan offi­cials and coali­tion forces oper­at­ing in Log­ar. The Tal­iban com­man­der is linked to an Aug. 30 impro­vised explo­sive device strike that killed four U.S. sol­diers.

– Coali­tion forces con­duct­ed a pre­ci­sion air strike that killed a Tal­iban com­man­der in Pak­ti­ka province. The deceased Tal­iban chief had led an insur­gent cell in north­ern Pak­ti­ka, which pro­vid­ed impro­vised explo­sive devices and for­eign fight­ers.

– An alle­ga­tion that ISAF activ­i­ty caused civil­ian casu­al­ties was made in Kan­da­har province. The alle­ga­tion is cur­rent­ly being inves­ti­gat­ed. Insur­gents attacked an Afghan army con­voy in the vicin­i­ty of Wazir vil­lage in the Zharay dis­trict of Kan­da­har on High­way 1, wound­ing one sol­dier. In response, a coali­tion air­craft engaged armed insur­gents once they were pos­i­tive­ly iden­ti­fied and seen using their weapons. Fol­low­ing the strike, two oth­er insur­gents were observed res­cu­ing the injured fight­ers and mov­ing them into the back of a truck and then dri­ving away from the area. An alle­ga­tion of civil­ian casu­al­ties was made, pro­vid­ing a time and loca­tion that coin­cid­ed with the engage­ment. ISAF imme­di­ate­ly began review­ing the inci­dent, and it has since been learned that there were civil­ians in the area. It was also report­ed that the insur­gents hijacked the vehi­cle, which was used to trans­port their fight­ers, from a local res­i­dent fol­low­ing the engage­ment with com­bined forces. “It is like­ly that the insur­gents used the cov­er of near­by civil­ians in an attempt to hide from coali­tion forces,” said U.S. Air Force Col. James Dawkins, the direc­tor of the ISAF Joint Com­mand Com­bined Joint Oper­a­tions Cen­ter. “Because pre­vent­ing civil­ian casu­al­ties and pro­tect­ing the Afghan peo­ple are so impor­tant to us, we are deeply sad­dened over this lat­est event. We offer our sin­cere con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims.” The num­ber of casu­al­ties and extent of injuries is still being ver­i­fied. A joint inves­ti­ga­tion is under­way to deter­mine the details of the inci­dent.

– An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force detained sev­er­al insur­gents in Kan­da­har province, includ­ing two Tal­iban weapons facil­i­ta­tors oper­at­ing around Kan­da­har City. The secu­ri­ty force first tar­get­ed a com­pound in Daman dis­trict in pur­suit of an insur­gent known as one of the Taliban’s pri­ma­ry facil­i­ta­tors for small arms, rock­et-pro­pelled grenades and impro­vised explo­sive device com­po­nents. After ini­tial ques­tion­ing on the scene, the assault force iden­ti­fied and detained the facil­i­ta­tor. A sep­a­rate secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a com­pound a few kilo­me­ters south in Kan­da­har City, to search for anoth­er Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tor who acquires and dis­trib­utes explo­sives, ammu­ni­tion and weapons for Tal­iban com­man­ders oper­at­ing in the area. After Afghan forces con­duct­ed a call out, the secu­ri­ty force cleared and secured the build­ings. After ini­tial ques­tion­ing, the assault force iden­ti­fied and detained the facil­i­ta­tor and three addi­tion­al insur­gents for fur­ther ques­tion­ing. The secu­ri­ty force did not fire their weapons and they pro­tect­ed the women and chil­dren dur­ing the search­es.

– An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force detained sev­er­al insur­gents, includ­ing the Tal­iban shad­ow gov­er­nor of Musa Qal’ah dis­trict in Hel­mand province. The shad­ow gov­er­nor facil­i­tat­ed and led impro­vised explo­sive device and direct fire attacks and han­dled fund­ing for Tal­iban oper­a­tions with­in his area.

– Sev­er­al insur­gents, includ­ing Sha­ki Mama, a senior Tal­iban com­man­der, were killed dur­ing a coali­tion air strike in Uruz­gan province. Mama was tar­get­ed for plan­ning, coor­di­nat­ing and exe­cut­ing attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces. He also sup­plied IEDs to local insur­gents and direct­ed sui­cide attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces. “As long as the Tal­iban com­man­ders con­tin­ue to harm the peo­ple of Afghanistan, ANSF and coali­tion forces will con­tin­ue to tar­get them,” said U.S. Air Force Col. James Dawkins, direc­tor of the Inter­na­tion­al Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand Com­bined Joint Oper­a­tions Cen­ter.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es