Afghanistan — Combined Team Investigates Shooting Incident

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2010 — A com­bined team of Afghan and Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force offi­cials left Afghanistan’s cap­i­tal of Kab­ul today to per­form an ini­tial assess­ment of a shoot­ing inci­dent in west­ern Afghanistan yes­ter­day.

The shoot­ing left two ISAF ser­vice­mem­bers, an Afghan Nation­al Police offi­cer and a civil­ian inter­preter dead. A demon­stra­tion of local res­i­dents occurred after the shoot­ing near the camp where the inci­dent occurred. 

The ini­tial assess­ment team is made up of Afghan inte­ri­or and defense min­istry rep­re­sen­ta­tives, as well as an ISAF Joint Com­mand gen­er­al offi­cer and staff mem­bers. The team will review evi­dence, gath­er facts and talk with peo­ple who can pro­vide details of what hap­pened, offi­cials said. 

Ini­tial reports indi­cate that dur­ing a men­tor­ing ses­sion, an Afghan Nation­al Police mem­ber fired shots, killing the ISAF sol­diers and civil­ian. One or more ISAF mem­bers report­ed­ly returned fire, killing the ANP mem­ber. At this point, offi­cials said, the cause of the shoot­ing is unclear. 

“These inci­dents are still very iso­lat­ed,” said Ger­man Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, ISAF spokesman. “The coali­tion forces are train­ing thou­sands of Afghan army and police forces every day. Train­ing the Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces remains as the foun­da­tion of a suc­cess­ful Afghan-led tran­si­tion strategy.” 

ISAF Joint Com­mand offi­cials said they will pro­vide more infor­ma­tion fol­low­ing the team’s assessment. 

In oth­er news from Afghanistan, Afghan police and coali­tion forces repelled insur­gent attacks today at sev­er­al loca­tions in Hel­mand province’s Nahr‑e Saraj dis­trict, sup­press­ing the insur­gents and main­tain­ing con­trol of the area. Part­nered secu­ri­ty patrols will con­tin­ue to reas­sure the local res­i­dents in Nahr‑e Saraj, offi­cials said. 

“The attacks coin­cid­ed with Iftar as the Afghan forces were break­ing their fast dur­ing the holy month of Ramadan,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col Chris Hugh­es, Region­al Com­mand South­west pub­lic affairs offi­cer. “Insur­gent attacks and vio­lence against Afghans dur­ing this holi­est month char­ac­ter­ize the insur­gents’ lack of respect for fel­low Mus­lims.” Mean­while, Afghan and coali­tion forces con­tin­ued their pur­suit of Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work lead­er­ship yes­ter­day, detain­ing sev­er­al insur­gents in Khost province while in pur­suit of a senior Haqqani commander. 

The com­man­der coor­di­nates and con­ducts attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces, includ­ing sui­cide bomb­ings, and also is believed to be respon­si­ble for the trans­porta­tion of weapons and sup­plies for attacks against Afghan civil­ians and Afghan and coali­tion forces. 

Intel­li­gence sources indi­cat­ed the group was gath­er­ing for an upcom­ing com­plex attack in the area that would involve sui­cide bombers and a vehi­cle-borne bomb, offi­cials said. 

After ques­tion­ing all of the res­i­dents at the tar­get­ed com­pound, the secu­ri­ty force detained the insur­gents. The secu­ri­ty force did not fire their weapons, and they pro­tect­ed women and chil­dren who were present through­out the search. 

Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty forces cap­tured two Haqqani lead­ers and sev­er­al Tal­iban lead­ers dur­ing 35 sep­a­rate oper­a­tions this week, offi­cials said, and in the past week, a Tal­iban com­man­der and a com­man­der in Jamaat ul Dawa al-Quran, an Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist group that works along­side the Tal­iban, were killed. 

ISAF Joint Com­mand offi­cials not­ed that with clear rules of engage­ment in effect and extreme mea­sures tak­en to avoid civil­ian casu­al­ties, more than 85 per­cent of the oper­a­tions were con­duct­ed with­out shots fired. The Afghan-led oper­a­tions result­ed in more than 60 sus­pect­ed insur­gents detained and more than 45 insur­gents killed, offi­cials added. 

Ene­my bombs con­tin­ued to take a toll on the Afghan peo­ple yes­ter­day, as three Afghan civil­ians were killed when they stepped on a road­side bomb in Kan­da­har province’s Arghandab district. 

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releases 

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