Afghanistan — Coalition Condemns Afghanistan Mosque Killings

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2010 — The Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force con­demned today’s bru­tal attack by insur­gents at a mosque in Afghanistan that killed 12, includ­ing the gov­er­nor of Kun­duz, and wound­ed 18 oth­ers, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Ini­tial reports indi­cate insur­gents set off explo­sives inside the mosque in Takhar province where Afghans were cel­e­brat­ing Fri­day prayers. 

“It’s uncon­scionable that any­one would attack a mosque. It’s clear the insur­gents have no respect for the most holy of Islam­ic places,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Greg Smith, ISAF’s direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. “Our thoughts and con­cerns are with the fam­i­lies of the dead and wound­ed dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time. ISAF will work with our Afghan part­ners to find those respon­si­ble and bring them to justice.” 

In oth­er Afghanistan news today: 

— Afghan and ISAF com­bined forces tar­get­ed a com­pound in Hel­mand province asso­ci­at­ed with a senior Tal­iban leader linked to sui­cide bomb attacks. As the patrol approached the com­pound, two armed insur­gents ran from the build­ing and attacked the approach­ing secu­ri­ty force. One of the insur­gents det­o­nat­ed a sui­cide vest, killing him­self. The oth­er was killed when the secu­ri­ty force returned fire. The com­bined force then sur­round­ed the com­pound and was imme­di­ate­ly engaged by sev­er­al insur­gents using small arms and grenades. The com­bined force returned fire, killing sev­er­al more insur­gents. Anoth­er insur­gent died when he det­o­nat­ed a sui­cide vest. While clear­ing the com­pound, coali­tion forces dis­cov­ered mul­ti­ple auto­mat­ic rifles and rock­et-pro­pelled grenades. One RPG was wired to a dead insur­gent and iden­ti­fied as a sui­cide bomb. The explo­sives and weapons were safe­ly destroyed by the patrol. The com­bined force then moved to a near­by com­pound, and after secur­ing and search­ing it, dis­cov­ered a trap­door with wires pro­trud­ing from it. Upon clos­er exam­i­na­tion, it was deter­mined to be a large weapons cache con­sist­ing of mines and home­made-explo­sives rigged to explode. The patrol pulled back and destroyed the cache in place. 

— An ISAF air weapons team engaged and killed five men armed with weapons. The inci­dent occurred when an air weapons team was patrolling in the Nadir Shar Kot dis­trict of Khost province. The ISAF heli­copters iden­ti­fied a group with weapons mov­ing from a pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied ene­my posi­tion near Sin­zai Kalay vil­lage. As a result of the oper­a­tion, ISAF is aware of civil­ian casu­al­ty alle­ga­tions and is send­ing a joint assess­ment team to look into the allegations. 

— Com­bined forces detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents in overnight oper­a­tions in Zab­ul and Khost provinces tar­get­ing Tal­iban and Haqqani lead­ers. In Zab­ul, the com­bined secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a Tal­iban senior leader involved in the pro­duc­tion, plan­ning and exe­cu­tion of impro­vised explo­sive device attacks along High­way 1. Intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion led the force to a series of com­pounds in the Qalat dis­trict. They cleared and secured the com­pound, and detained the sus­pects. A sep­a­rate secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a Haqqani net­work mid-lev­el leader in Khost province, detain­ing sus­pects with­out incident. 

— Com­bined forces tar­get­ed a deputy Tal­iban dis­trict leader in War­dak province, detain­ing one sus­pect and killing four dur­ing an overnight oper­a­tion. The tar­get­ed man coor­di­nates attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces. Based on intel­li­gence tips, the force tar­get­ed a series of com­pounds in the Chak‑e War­dak dis­trict. Dur­ing the clear­ance, the secu­ri­ty force took fire from with­in the com­pounds. The force returned fire, killing four. The force dis­cov­ered and destroyed an auto­mat­ic weapon and pis­tol, along with mul­ti­ple rifles and grenades at the scene. One sus­pect was detained. 

ISAF con­firmed the cap­ture of a Tal­iban senior leader based in Dand dis­trict dur­ing an Oct. 5 oper­a­tion in Kan­da­har province. The man is believed to have coor­di­nat­ed impro­vised explo­sive device attacks and com­mand­ed a kid­nap­ping cell tar­get­ing Afghan offi­cials and local nation­als. The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a com­pound in the Zharay dis­trict to search for the man. As the force began to clear the com­pound, mul­ti­ple grenades were thrown at the force from a near­by wood line. The force engaged and killed one insur­gent. After the area was secure, the force ques­tioned res­i­dents before detain­ing the tar­get­ed man and four of his associates. 

ISAF con­firmed the cap­ture of a Tal­iban IED coor­di­na­tor in the Mar­jah dis­trict of Hel­mand dur­ing an overnight oper­a­tion. The sus­pect linked to at least three IED attacks in the Nad ‘Ali dis­trict. Intel­li­gence tips led the force to a remote com­pound in Mar­jah dis­trict. Afghan forces used a loud­speak­er to call for all occu­pants to exit the build­ings peace­ful­ly and the joint secu­ri­ty force cleared and secured the com­pound. The force ques­tioned res­i­dents, then detained the man and one of his associates. 

In yesterday’s Afghanistan operations: 

— Afghan and ISAF forces recov­ered and destroyed about 2,200 pounds of nar­cotics dur­ing two oper­a­tions. A vehi­cle inter­dic­tion mis­sion in the Mai­wand dis­trict of Kan­da­har province led to the dis­cov­ery of 1,672 pounds of wet opi­um, a couri­er vehi­cle, and nine detainees. The nar­cotics were found in a vehi­cle and a near­by nar­cotics lab­o­ra­to­ry, all of which were destroyed on site. Dur­ing a sec­ond oper­a­tion Nan­garhar province’s Achin dis­trict, the patrol sur­round­ed the tar­get­ed com­pound, and dur­ing a sub­se­quent search, dis­cov­ered 275 pounds of hero­in, 154 pounds of mor­phine, 44 pounds of hashish, three grenades and asso­ci­at­ed chem­i­cals used to man­u­fac­ture nar­cotics. The drugs and weapons were destroyed. 

— Com­bined forces cap­tured a Tal­iban weapons traf­fick­er in Kan­da­har City and Kan­da­har province’s Dand dis­trict, and a Tal­iban senior leader who may be linked to the recent assas­si­na­tion of the deputy may­or of Kan­da­har City. Intel­li­gence tips led the force to a com­pound in Kan­da­har City to search for the man known to dis­trib­ute weapons from Pak­istan to com­man­ders oper­at­ing in Kan­da­har City. The forces peace­ful­ly cleared and secured the com­pound. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents, the force detained the man along with one of his asso­ciates. The force con­duct­ed a fol­low-on oper­a­tion at a com­pound near­by, tar­get­ing a Tal­iban senior leader who com­mands an assas­si­na­tion cell in the city and who may be linked to the assas­si­na­tion of the deputy may­or as well as a Nation­al Defense Ser­vice offi­cer. The com­bined force cleared and secured the com­pound, then detained sus­pect and six of his associates. 

— Com­bined forces cap­tured the Tal­iban mil­i­tary and civ­il com­mis­sion­er for the Nahr‑e Saraj dis­trict respon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing finances and weapons to Tal­iban fight­ers in Hel­mand province. Intel­li­gence tips led the secu­ri­ty force to a remote com­pound in the Lashkar Gah dis­trict where they peace­ful­ly secured the area, then detained the tar­get­ed man and one of his associates. 

Offi­cials added that Afghan and coali­tion forces pro­tect any women and chil­dren present dur­ing their operations. 

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releases 

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