WASHINGTON — Afghan and coalition forces responded to a bombing attack at a bazaar in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province today, military officials reported.
Initial reports indicate eight Afghan civilians were wounded when a homemade bomb detonated as the bazaar was opening.
Afghan and International Security Assistance Force troops provided initial medical care to the injured and later evacuated them to a medical facility for additional treatment. In other operations in Afghanistan:
— A combined team of Afghan and international forces captured a Taliban bomb maker and two other militants last night in northwestern Kandahar City.
— Also in Kandahar City yesterday, ISAF forces discovered a weapons cache containing six 102 mm artillery shells, six mortars and a rocket-propelled grenade.
— While patrolling in Helmand’s Nad-e Ali district yesterday, ISAF forces saw a yellow jug protruding from the ground, which turned out to be packed with 40 pounds of explosives. The bomb was destroyed.
— An ISAF patrol met with Afghan police in the Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district yesterday to retrieve 42 mines, two receiver/transmitters and a bag full of miscellaneous bomb electronics police had secured at a checkpoint.
— In Helmand’s Now Zad district yesterday, an ISAF patrol found a rocket and some homemade explosives in an open field.
— In the Bala Morghab area of Badghis province, an Afghan civilian turned in an anti-tank mine to an ISAF patrol.
No shots were fired, and no Afghan civilians were harmed during the operations, officials said.
In other news from Afghanistan, an Afghan-international security force recently captured a Taliban cell leader who had planted bombs in and around a school in Kandahar, officials reported yesterday.
The combined force had received intelligence that a Taliban bombing cell was operating around Kuhak in Kandahar province. During the subsequent operation, the security force captured the Taliban leader and several other cell members.
A search of the area uncovered command detonation wires in a field across the road from a Kuhak school. The combined patrol followed the command wires and discovered nine buried bombs. Four were buried on the side of the road running beside the school, two were buried outside the school’s gate, and three were uncovered in the courtyard where the school’s students congregate.
ISAF explosive experts said numerous casualties would likely have occurred if the bombs had been detonated while school was in session. ISAF forces dug up and safely removed the bombs that were planted around the school and in the courtyard. The bombs that were planted along the roadside were determined to be too dangerous to move and were blown up in place.
U.N. reports have noted that the vast majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan are the result of insurgent bombs, ISAF officials said.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)