WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2011 — Four Afghan civilians were killed and at least eight others were seriously wounded today in two insurgent attacks that followed several days in which Afghan and coalition troops killed or captured numerous insurgent leaders in Afghanistan, military officials reported.
Officials of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force condemned the attacks, which began this morning when two men entered a mosque in the Chacha Salingi district of the northeast province of Baghlan and began shooting the praying civilians, murdering four and wounding two.
“We join the Baghlan authorities in anger over this despicable murder of innocent civilians. To gun down a group of people in prayer is reprehensible,” said Navy Rear Adm. Victor M. Beck, ISAF director of public affairs. “We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones, and hope for a rapid recovery for the wounded. We will continue to work with the Afghan government in bringing those responsible to justice.”
Later today, six people were seriously wounded, including an Afghan police officer, when insurgents triggered a device bomb in the western city of Herat.
In other operations today, Afghan and coalition forces seized numerous enemy weapons during patrols in eastern and southern Afghanistan. The combined forces found caches in Helmand, Logar and Warkak provinces that yielded several assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, rockets, mortars, grenades, ammunition, dozens of land mines, 25 detonators, and eight 100-pound bags of ammonium nitrate, a fertile that the Afghan government has banned because it can be used to make explosives.
In operations yesterday in Afghanistan:
— Afghan and coalition forces detained a suspected Taliban bomb maker in Kandahar believed to be responsible for attacks against troops in Kandahar City and known to have close contacts with other Taliban leaders in the area. Security forces found the man and numerous other suspected insurgents during a search of several buildings in the city.
— Combined forces detained a Taliban leader responsible for kidnappings of Afghan civilians on Afghanistan’s southern thoroughfare, Highway 1, during a security operation in Zabul province. The leader, believed responsible for attacks against military forces in the area, was detained peacefully, along with two other suspects.
— Combined forces in Nimroz province detained two suspected insurgents there while targeting a Taliban leader believed responsible for bomb attacks against coalition forces. The leader also is suspected of bringing suicide bombers into Afghanistan and leading attacks in neighboring Farah province.
— In Ghazni province, combined forces detained several suspected insurgents while targeting a Taliban leader known for weapons trafficking and bomb attacks in the Muqer district. He also is suspected in a complex suicide-bomber attack in Kabul City on Dec. 19 that killed four Afghan soldiers and wounded several Afghan security forces personnel.
— In Khost province’s Terayzai district, combined forces detained a Pakistani-based Taliban leader who operated in Logar province, along with several other suspected insurgents. In Jan. 1 operations:
— In Kunar province’s Watahpur district, coalition forces killed two insurgents after the men fired on two ISAF patrols with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. After gaining positive identification, coalition forces returned fire and called for artillery fire and air support, which was directed by two nearby ISAF combat outposts. In a separate operation in Kunar, after declaring an imminent threat posed by three insurgents moving into historical fighting positions in the Darah-ye Pech district, coalition forces engaged them with .50-caliber fire, killing two.
— Combined forces targeted the Taliban leader for Ghazni’s Muqer district, and detained one suspect. The leader has direct connections with Taliban leadership and shadow governors in the area and is suspected in the Dec. 19 suicide-bomb attack in Kabul City.
— Combined forces captured a Taliban leader associated with a Dec. 18 vehicle-bomb attack in Kandahar City. Security forces on a clearing operation followed leads to a compound in the Dand district where the leader was detained after initial questioning. He is believed to be responsible for supplying insurgents and planning attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Kandahar province.
— A combined patrol targeted a Taliban leader during an operation in Helmand’s Nad‑e Ali district. As the patrol prepared to enter a building in the targeted compound, a man was killed when he tried to engage the force with a handgun. Another man was killed when he picked up the discarded handgun and ignored calls in Dari and Pashto to drop the weapon. One man was detained during the operation.
— Combined forces detained a Taliban leader and another suspected insurgent after searching a large compound in Farah province. The leader is suspected of attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the Khak‑e Safayd district and had recently moved to the Bakwah district after coalition forces captured numerous insurgents in Khak‑e Safayd.
— In a separate operation, combined forces killed two insurgents in the Bakwah district while targeting a separate compound. Before the force could begin to secure the area, armed insurgents shot at the force, which returned fire, resulting in one insurgent being killed. The force followed a second armed man to the compound, where Afghan forces called for all occupants to exit peacefully before the security force cleared and secured the compound. The armed insurgent was seen running into a room, where he barricaded himself. After several attempts, the security force escalated its call-out procedures before entering the room and killing the insurgent.
— In Khost province, combined forces captured a Taliban leader who provided bomb materials for a Dec. 5 attack on Forward Operating Base Lighting. The man primarily operated in Paktiya province and traveled to Kabul, Logar and Khost to provide the Taliban with supplies to carry out attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. He also is associated with the Kabul attack network. Security forces followed leads to the targeted location in the Terayzai district, where the man and three additional suspects were detained after questioning.
— Afghan and coalition forces captured a Taliban weapons facilitator for Nangarhar’s Chaparhar district. The man is believed responsible for supplying weapons and bombs for attacks against troops and government officials in the Jalalabad, Chaparhar and Pachir wa Agam districts. Another suspect also was detained.
— Coalition forces killed two insurgents in Helmand’s Nahr‑e Saraj district after insurgents fired at a coalition patrol in the area. After gaining positive identification, coalition forces returned fire and called for air support. The air weapons team on scene engaged the enemy position, killing the insurgents.
— ISAF patrols found several weapons caches during separate clearing operations in Logar, Kunar and Helmand provinces, including bomb components, hand grenades, fuses, an RPG motor, 110 pounds of explosives, 36 recoilless rifle rounds, an assault rifle and 40 40 mm rounds.
— Afghan border police and ISAF forces found two vehicles transporting explosives and a weapons cache in Khost’s Gurbuz district. The cache consisted of a bag full of homemade explosives, 98 blasting caps and several loose 9 mm rounds. Coalition forces also detained several suspected insurgents related to the cache.
In Dec. 31 operations:
— Abdul Hai, a Taliban leader who operated in Kunduz and was affiliated with multiple Taliban insurgents in northern Afghanistan, was killed during an Afghan and coalition force operation.
— An Afghan family was hit by a grenade thrown by insurgents in Kandahar’s Zharay district. The attack killed one civilian and seriously wounded six others, including two children. Afghan and ISAF forces tried to locate the insurgents, who fled the area.
— An Afghan civilian was seriously wounded in Paktika province’s Bermal district when insurgents attacked an ISAF forward operating base. Afghan soldiers and ISAF forces did not return fire, but rather provided medical assistance for the wounded civilian, who subsequently was taken to an ISAF medical facility.
— Afghan and coalition forces detained a Taliban facilitator and bomb-making expert during a security operation in Logar. The man was responsible for attacks and ambushes against Afghan and coalition forces in the Baraki Barak district. After the targeted man was detained, he led the security force to a second compound, where they detained another suspected insurgent.
— Acting on intelligence tips, combined forces detained a Haqqani terrorist network leader who operates in Khost’s Sabari district, along with several other suspected insurgents. The leader was responsible for coordinating attacks against coalition forces and supplying Haqqani fighters with weapons, ammunition and equipment. The security force found a machine gun with a large amount of ammunition, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with rounds and multiple assault rifles.
— Afghan and coalition forces acting on intelligence information captured a Taliban leader who has connections with other Taliban leaders throughout Wardak province’s Sayyidabad district. The leader is a liaison to a Taliban governing commission in the district.
— Combined forces looking for a Taliban weapons facilitator detained several suspected insurgents in Ghazni province.
— Coalition forces targeted a Taliban roadside-bomb cell leader with a precision air strike in Kandahar province, killing three armed insurgents. The targeted leader is responsible for coordinating, preparing and supplying insurgents for attacks against troops in the Zharay district. The air strike occurred as the targeted man and another insurgent were identified in a remote area. The insurgent was killed in the strike, but the targeted man ran to a nearby compound and gathered local Afghans around him, including a child, to deter further attacks. Forces waited until the man was clear of civilians before calling in a second air strike where he was located with four armed insurgents in an open field. Two of the men were killed. Initial reports indicate there were no civilian casualties or damage to buildings. The remaining suspects dispersed before forces could arrive at the scene. The man was wanted for his role in a vehicle-bomb attack in Sangsar on Dec. 12.
— In an intelligence-based operation, Afghan and coalition forces targeted a Taliban leader in the Shin Wari area of Kunduz, detaining numerous suspects and killing several armed insurgents. The Taliban leader plants roadside bombs and distributes funds and weapons to Taliban leadership.
— Combined forces targeted a senior Taliban leader during an operation in Helmand’s Musa Qalah district. After seeing the Afghan and coalition force moving toward him, one man was killed after he ducked into a nearby building, emerged with a rifle and tried to engage the force. Another man offered to help the force search a room, and while they were searching, he pulled a handgun from under a mattress. He attempted to engage the force and was killed. Two men were detained.
In Dec. 30 operations:
— Afghan and coalition forces detained a Haqqani leader who operates in Khost’s Terayzai district, along with several other suspected insurgents, in an intelligence-driven operation. The Haqqani leader was responsible for moving and planting roadside bombs in the province.
— Combined forces detained several suspected insurgents in Kunduz province as they targeted a Taliban leader known for making roadside bombs and suicide vests, leading Taliban fighters, and firing anti-aircraft weapons against Afghan and coalition forces. The security force followed intelligence reports to a compound in the Chahar Darah district, where they shot and killed an insurgent who fired on them. The security force recovered an assault rifle, multiple grenades and a chest rack.
— The Taliban deputy shadow governor for Kunduz province was killed during a firefight with Afghan and coalition forces. The man, known only as Bahadur, provided funding, weapons and supplies to Taliban fighters, conducted attacks and provided operational guidance to senior Taliban leaders in the province. An ISAF spokesman called Bahadur “a key planner and enabler of operations against innocent Afghan people.”
— Combined forces targeted a Taliban logistics officer who reports to the deputy shadow governor for Wardak province, killing several armed insurgents. The combined force followed intelligence reports to a compound in Warkdak’s Nerkh district and killed several armed insurgents who fired on them as they approached. The force recovered multiple weapons and ammunition, and discovered an Afghan child was wounded. A coalition medical technician provided immediate first aid. Coalition forces evacuated the child, escorted by a family member, to a coalition hospital within minutes, but the child later died.
— Two senior Taliban fighters known as Iqbal and Qadir were killed during an Afghan and coalition operation in Wardak province. Iqbal was a Taliban logistics officer who reports to the deputy shadow governor. Qadir was a Taliban facilitator and logistician responsible for weapons procurement and provisions in the district.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases