WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2010 — Afghan and coalition forces killed three insurgents and detained three others yesterday during their continuing pursuit of a Taliban subcommander responsible for leading attacks against Afghan civilians and Afghan and coalition forces in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, military officials reported.
As the assault force approached a targeted compound, three armed insurgents ran out and posed an imminent threat on the assault force. The assault force engaged and killed the insurgents, who were armed with assault rifles, grenades, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and multiple rounds of ammunition.
After questioning all of the residents at the scene, the security force detained three more suspected insurgents. They also found an automatic weapon with rounds in the compound. The security force protected women and children throughout the search.
In other news from Afghanistan, a coalition combat outpost came under insurgent fire yesterday in Kunar province’s Darah-ye Pech district. The coalition force responded with mortar fire and called for air support.
An insurgent round landed short of its target, reportedly killing an Afghan civilian in a cornfield. Coalition operational reports confirm that four insurgents were killed when precision-guided munitions were used on a ridgeline near where the insurgent fire originated.
International Security Assistance Force officials said they are aware of civilian casualty allegations and are conducting an investigation.
“We take allegations of civilian casualties seriously,” said Air Force Col. James Dawkins, ISAF Joint Command’s combined joint operations center director. “We’re investigating to find out what happened.”
In an Aug. 25 operation, an Afghan-led force discovered a large weapons cache in a remote village in Badakhshan province.
The cache consisted of 78 107 mm rockets with launchers, 47 82 mm mortar rounds, more than 1,100 rounds of 30 mm ammunition, 8,000 rounds of 7.62 mm machine-gun ammunition, 24 rocket-propelled grenades, 60 fuses and anti-aircraft artillery parts. With help from pack animals supplied by villagers, the cache was moved to a safe location before being destroyed.
Afghan soldiers partnered with agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Afghan National Interdiction Unit and U.S. Special Forces, discovered the cache in Nawci, a village suspected of being a safe haven for Taliban drug and weapon smugglers operating in the area and an infiltration route for foreign fighters operating throughout Afghanistan’s northeastern provinces.
The partnered force established security around the cache site to protect local villagers and then met with village elders to discuss any concerns. Because of the remoteness of the village, the meeting was only the second opportunity coalition forces have had to speak with villagers in Nawci, officials said.
Also on Aug. 25, Afghan forces partnered with ISAF forces concluded a combined security sweep of eastern Afghanistan’s Uzbeen Valley area.
The operation began Aug. 21 with an air assault of Afghan, French and U.S. soldiers and focused on clearing the area, rooting out enemy insurgent fighters and securing and destroying illegal explosives and munitions, officials said.
After initial success in which about 40 Taliban fighters were killed and several key Taliban facilitators were captured, officials said, operations transitioned toward the disruption of insurgent networks and the elimination of explosives and weapons.
The combined force consisted of 430 French soldiers from Task Force Bison, 360 U.S. soldiers from Task Force Iron Grey, 200 soldiers from the 201st Corps of the Afghan National Army that were integrated into both task forces, 60 Afghan commandos from Kandak Commando, and elements of the Afghan National Police in partnership with French police liaison teams. Sixty rockets and mortars were found and safely destroyed, as well as a large quantity of homemade explosives and materials used in building roadside bombs. In addition to the munitions, two laboratories used in forging fake identifications and official papers were found and destroyed.
The Afghan and coalition forces conducted several meetings with local residents during the five-day operation, explaining what they were doing and addressing concerns that arose as the combined operation moved through the area. Particular attention was paid to cultural sensitivities and the heightened requirements of a local population that is immersed in the observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, officials said.
Meanwhile, ISAF officials confirmed the capture of a senior Haqqani terrorist network commander during a combined Afghan and coalition operation Aug. 25. The commander, who coordinates and conducts attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, was among several insurgents detained after intelligence indicated the group was gathering for an upcoming complex attack consisting of suicide bombers and a vehicle-borne bomb.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases
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