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