Afghanistan — British Forces Launch Helmand Province Operation

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2010 — British forces launched an oper­a­tion to fur­ther squeeze insur­gents in the cen­tral part of Afghanistan’s Hel­mand province July 31, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand offi­cials also released details about sev­er­al oth­er recent oper­a­tions.

Oper­a­tion Tor Sheza­da — Black Prince — was planned and is being exe­cut­ed by ISAF forces work­ing with their Afghan coun­ter­parts. British troops will part­ner with Afghan forces to clear insur­gents from Sayede­bad to the south of Nad-e Ali in Hel­mand province, in oper­a­tions sim­i­lar to those con­duct­ed by U.S. Marine Corps in north­ern Mar­ja ear­li­er this year. The oper­a­tion is ongo­ing, British army Lt. Col. James Carr-Smith, Task Force Hel­mand spokesman, said, adding that com­man­ders on the ground say it is pro­gress­ing accord­ing to plan. Although sig­nif­i­cant­ly small­er than pre­vi­ous oper­a­tions in the area, Oper­a­tion Tor Sheza­da will push insur­gent fight­ers fur­ther from the pop­u­la­tion areas suc­cess­ful­ly cleared by pre­vi­ous ele­ments of Oper­a­tion Moshtarak, offi­cials said. It fol­lows the same pat­tern of “shape, clear, hold, build” that has char­ac­ter­ized the wider oper­a­tion, and shap­ing oper­a­tions have been car­ried out in prepa­ra­tion for it, offi­cials added.

As soon as con­di­tions allow, ISAF offi­cials said, the Afghan gov­ern­ment will begin sta­bi­liza­tion activ­i­ties, includ­ing refur­bish­ment of Sayedeba’s school and health clin­ic. The British-run provin­cial recon­struc­tion team in Hel­mand will sup­port this activ­i­ty with projects of its own, includ­ing “cash for work” pro­grams that employ local peo­ple to devel­op their own com­mu­ni­ties.

In oth­er Afghanistan oper­a­tions last night and today:

— An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force con­tin­ued to tar­get Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work insur­gents oper­at­ing in the Khost-Gardez Pass last night, this time focus­ing on a senior Haqqani com­man­der who report­ed­ly received about 120 road­side bombs for planned attacks dur­ing Afghanistan’s upcom­ing elec­tions. The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a com­pound west of the vil­lage of Alu Kheyl to search for the com­man­der. Afghan forces, act­ing on intel­li­gence reports, quick­ly entered the com­pounds while coali­tion forces kept the area secured. After ques­tion­ing on the scene, the secu­ri­ty force detained the com­man­der and oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents. Afghan and coali­tion forces did not fire their weapons, and they pro­tect­ed the women and chil­dren through­out the search.

— An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force killed sev­er­al insur­gents and detained two oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Kunar province while in pur­suit of a top Tal­iban com­man­der with ties to senior al-Qai­da lead­ers in both Afghanistan and Pak­istan. The com­man­der is noto­ri­ous for his mul­ti­ple attacks against Afghan civil­ians, Afghan and coali­tion forces in Kunar province. The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a series of com­pounds in the province’s Marawarah dis­trict to search for the com­man­der. At two of the com­pounds, sev­er­al men showed hos­tile intent toward the secu­ri­ty force, and the secu­ri­ty force killed them. Fol­low-on ques­tion­ing of the res­i­dents on the scene result­ed in the deten­tion of two sus­pect­ed insur­gents. The com­pounds weren’t dam­aged, and the secu­ri­ty force pro­tect­ed women and chil­dren through­out the search.

— An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force detained sev­er­al Tal­iban insur­gents in Kan­da­har province, includ­ing a Tal­iban com­man­der involved in bomb­ing attacks against Afghan civil­ians, Afghan and coali­tion forces. The com­man­der also was involved in the facil­i­ta­tion of weapons, muni­tions and bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als, offi­cials said. The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a series of com­pounds in Kandahar’s Arghandab dis­trict after intel­li­gence indi­cat­ed the Tal­iban insur­gents had forced their way into one of the com­pounds. After ques­tion­ing all of the res­i­dents, the secu­ri­ty force iden­ti­fied and detained the com­man­der and his asso­ciates. The secu­ri­ty force dis­cov­ered mul­ti­ple auto­mat­ic weapons with mag­a­zines and chest racks at the scene. Afghan and coali­tion forces did not fire their weapons, and they pro­tect­ed women and chil­dren through­out the search.

— An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force detained two sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Hel­mand province while in pur­suit of a Tal­iban mil­i­tary com­man­der who also is believed to be a deputy com­man­der of the Lashkar Gah dis­trict who com­mands more than 100 fight­ers. Afghan and coali­tion forces did not fire their weapons, and women and chil­dren were pro­tect­ed through­out the search.

— Afghan sol­diers, with sup­port from their coali­tion part­ners, exe­cut­ed ground attacks on the towns of Bachan­cha and Bad­muk today, clear­ing them of Tal­iban fight­ers and dis­rupt­ing insur­gent oper­a­tions through­out the region. Ini­tial reports indi­cate more than 30 insur­gents were killed, and two Afghan sol­diers were killed in action. The Afghan and coali­tion forces took delib­er­ate steps to avoid hurt­ing inno­cent civil­ians dur­ing the oper­a­tion, offi­cials said. The attacks are part of ongo­ing secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions that began July 25 with an Afghan army com­man­do air assault on the vil­lage of Barg-e Matal.

In oth­er recent oper­a­tions, Afghan forces work­ing with ISAF part­ners con­duct­ed an oper­a­tion yes­ter­day to recov­er a weapons cache in Ghazni province’s Jaghatu dis­trict. The com­bined force locat­ed about 45 recoil­less rifle rounds and an 82 mm mor­tar round.

On July 31, Afghan sol­diers part­nered with U.S. spe­cial oper­a­tions forces uncov­ered mul­ti­ple weapons caches in east­ern Zab­ul province.

The Afghan-led force went to sev­er­al areas in the province’s Now Bahar dis­trict after intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion indi­cat­ed insur­gent activ­i­ty and found three weapons caches, the largest of which was found in the dis­trict mosque. Dur­ing the search, the com­bined force encoun­tered spo­radic small-arms and machine-gun fire from insur­gents. An ene­my was killed when the com­bined force returned fire.

The first cache dis­cov­ered con­sist­ed of bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als and weapons buried in mul­ti­ple loca­tions through­out a com­pound. After­ward, on-scene ques­tion­ing of a build­ing own­er result­ed in Afghan police detain­ing and ques­tion­ing a sus­pect­ed Tal­iban leader.

As the search con­tin­ued through a series of com­pounds, the part­nered force found a sec­ond cache buried in a walled area con­sist­ing of bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als, weapons and load-bear­ing equip­ment.

About two hours after the ini­tial clear­ing oper­a­tions began, the largest cache of the day was dis­cov­ered in the vil­lage mosque by Afghan forces who con­duct­ed the search. Coali­tion forces pro­vid­ed secu­ri­ty out­side the mosque while their Afghan coun­ter­parts searched inside.

The cache found in the mosque con­sist­ed of a rock­et-pro­pelled grenade, 100 rounds of machine-gun ammu­ni­tion, 12 load-bear­ing mil­i­tary chest har­ness­es, about 40 pounds of home­made-explo­sive mate­ri­als, 3,000 feet of det­o­na­tion cord, two tac­ti­cal vests, and var­i­ous med­ical sup­plies and tac­ti­cal cloth­ing, includ­ing cold-weath­er gear and two tac­ti­cal packs.

An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force killed sev­er­al insur­gents and cap­tured a Haqqani Net­work com­man­der in Pak­tia province yes­ter­day. The com­man­der was in charge of two insur­gent cells that reg­u­lar­ly car­ried out ambush­es and mor­tar attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces.

The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a vehi­cle in the province’s Zor­mat dis­trict after they observed the com­man­der putting an anti-air­craft machine gun in the vehi­cle. After ensur­ing no civil­ians were present, an air weapons team per­formed a pre­ci­sion strike on the vehi­cle.

A fol­low-on ground force inspect­ed the area and found sev­er­al insur­gents were killed in the pre­ci­sion strike. The vehi­cle con­tained mul­ti­ple auto­mat­ic weapons, an anti-air­craft machine gun with 850 rounds of ammu­ni­tion, rock­et-pro­pelled grenades, sniper ammu­ni­tion and bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als. The secu­ri­ty force detained the com­man­der and an addi­tion­al sus­pect­ed insur­gent and destroyed the vehi­cle and weapons at the scene.

The secu­ri­ty force iden­ti­fied one of the dead insur­gents as a for­mer detainee tak­en dur­ing an oper­a­tion in March.

An Afghan-led secu­ri­ty force killed an insur­gent dur­ing a delib­er­ate clear­ing oper­a­tion yes­ter­day after intel­li­gence indi­cat­ed an ene­my Kab­ul attack net­work was plan­ning a dou­ble sui­cide bomb­ing attack in Kab­ul City.

The com­bined force vis­it­ed mul­ti­ple areas out­side the city after intel­li­gence indi­cat­ed insur­gent activ­i­ty. Dur­ing the search, the com­bined secu­ri­ty force was engaged by a man armed with an assault rifle, and the secu­ri­ty force returned fire and killed him.

Also yes­ter­day, Afghan sol­diers led the clear­ance of sev­er­al com­pounds in Musahi dis­trict out­side Kab­ul, in part­ner­ship with coali­tion forces. This clear­ing oper­a­tion fol­lowed sev­er­al last month that were focused on inter­rupt­ing insur­gent attack plan­ning against the July 20 Kab­ul Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence, offi­cials said. Six total oper­a­tions in Kab­ul dis­trict result­ed in five Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tors cap­tured and an addi­tion­al 10 insur­gents either killed or detained.

While the con­fer­ence was a suc­cess and no major insur­gent attacks mate­ri­al­ized, offi­cials said, Afghan and coali­tion forces plan to con­tin­ue putting the pres­sure on insur­gents plan­ning attacks in and around Kab­ul.

An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force detained one sus­pect­ed insur­gent in Khost province the night of July 31 in the con­tin­ued search for a Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work bomb-attack facil­i­ta­tor. This fol­lows sev­er­al suc­cess­ful oper­a­tions against the net­work oper­at­ing in the Khost-Gardez Pass this week, offi­cials said, as Afghan and coali­tion forces killed at least a dozen insur­gents, pos­si­bly includ­ing the top Haqqani net­work com­man­der for the area, and cap­tured sev­en Haqqani lead­ers dur­ing the oper­a­tions. No civil­ians were hurt or wound­ed in these oper­a­tions.

The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a series of com­pounds near the vil­lage of Sivakay in the province’s Khost dis­trict to search for the facil­i­ta­tor. After ini­tial ques­tion­ing, the sus­pect­ed insur­gent was detained. No shots were fired, and the force pro­tect­ed women and chil­dren who were present.

An Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force in Khost detained a Haqqani facil­i­ta­tor and oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents The night of July 30. No shots were fired, and women and chil­dren were pro­tect­ed through­out the search.

Also on the night of July 31, an Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force detained two sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Zab­ul province while in pur­suit of the Tal­iban deputy com­man­der for the province’s Shah Joy dis­trict.

Afghan and coali­tion forces tar­get­ed a com­pound out­side the vil­lage of Walan Robat in pur­suit of the com­man­der, who report­ed­ly leads more than 30 Tal­iban fight­ers. As they do in all sim­i­lar oper­a­tions, Afghan forces called out to the res­i­dents to come out of the tar­get­ed com­pound. The res­i­dents peace­ful­ly com­plied and were inter­viewed by the com­bined forces, and the two sus­pect­ed insur­gents were lat­er detained for fur­ther ques­tion­ing. No shots were fired, and women and chil­dren were pro­tect­ed through­out the search.

An Afghan-led secu­ri­ty force detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents and destroyed an active road­side bomb and three mor­tar rounds dur­ing a two-day clear­ing oper­a­tion that end­ed July 31. The oper­a­tion was aimed at dis­rupt­ing the ene­my in what his­tor­i­cal­ly had been a Tal­iban safe haven used to stage attacks into Kan­da­har City.

Afghan sol­diers led the clear­ance of sev­er­al com­pounds on the out­skirts of Mol­la Dust vil­lage in Kan­da­har province’s Pan­jwai dis­trict in part­ner­ship with coali­tion forces.

In oth­er news from Afghanistan, ene­my actions con­tin­ue to take a heavy civil­ian toll, ISAF offi­cials said.

Five Afghan chil­dren were killed and an Afghan police offi­cer was injured today when a sui­cide bomber using a vehi­cle-borne bomb tried to attack the gov­er­nor of the Dand dis­trict in Kan­da­har province.

The attacker’s device det­o­nat­ed before reach­ing its des­ti­na­tion, caus­ing the civil­ian casu­al­ties. A short time lat­er, anoth­er device det­o­nat­ed near­by, but nobody was injured.

At least two civil­ians were killed and 11 oth­ers were wound­ed yes­ter­day in a bomb­ing attack in Kandahar’s Mai­wand dis­trict. An ISAF patrol came across the vic­tims after the strike and pro­vid­ed imme­di­ate med­ical assis­tance to the injured civil­ians, who then were trans­port­ed to local med­ical facil­i­ties.

On July 31, a sui­cide attack killed a civil­ian leader and an Afghan police offi­cer and wound­ed four more civil­ians at a sports field in Kun­duz City in north­ern Afghanistan. The attack occurred at a sports field. The wound­ed civil­ians were tak­en to a near­by ISAF facil­i­ty for treat­ment.

Accord­ing con­firmed coali­tion reports, offi­cials said, insur­gents have killed more than 590 inno­cent Afghan civil­ians and wound­ed more than 1,350 this year.

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

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