WASHINGTON, May 25, 2010 — A combined Afghan-international security force killed a key al-Qaida leader and several other enemy fighters in a fierce gun battle in Afghanistan’s Paktia province this morning, military officials reported.
The al-Qaida leader was the target in the operation, officials said.
The combined force went to a compound in a rural area in the Zormat district after intelligence information verified militant activity. As the assault force approached the compound, it came under heavy fire and killed several attackers with return fire.
Armed men ran from the compound and fired upon pursuing members of the combined force, who returned fire and killed them.
During a search of the compound, the assault force found a Chinese recoilless rifle with 25 rounds of ammunition, multiple rocket-propelled-grenade launchers and rounds, 20 mortar rounds and multiple automatic rifles and grenades. The assault force also protected several women and children from harm, officials said.
In other recent operations in Afghanistan:
— An Afghan-international security force destroyed a roadside-bomb factory and detained a suspected insurgent in Kandahar province last night. Precision weapons were used to destroy the building.
— A Taliban bomb-attack facilitator and another insurgent were captured by an Afghan-international security force in the Barak district of Logar province last night.
— An International Security Assistance Force patrol found a freshly dug weapons cache at a construction site in Nimroz province’s Khash Rod district yesterday. The cache consisted of a number of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank and anti-personnel mines and artillery shells.
— An Afghan-international force found 58 152 mm artillery shells in Nimroz province’s Shindand district yesterday.
— Afghan forces with ISAF partners in Helmand province arrested a Taliban fighter known to have taken part in attacks against ISAF forces and to have recruited for the Taliban in a combined operation May 23. Afghan Special Police ensured all occupants left the compound safely. Several men were detained, and the combined force seized a small amount of narcotics and an assault rifle. Several women and children were protected throughout the operation, in which no civilians were injured, officials said.
In other news, Afghan army commandos, advised and assisted by U.S. special operations forces, conducted combat and humanitarian operations in Zabul province’s Arghandab district May 23.
While entering the farming village of Garnay, the combined force was engaged by and killed two insurgent fighters. A search of the insurgents and their motorcycle saddle bags yielded five assault rifle ammunition magazines, 150 rounds of machine gun ammunition and two hand grenades.
A further search of the village resulted in discovery of three motorcycles with saddle bags containing seven assault-rifle magazines, three tactical vests and bomb-making materials. In a separate location, Afghan soldiers, assisted by U.S. special operations forces, entered the farming village of Bolan, located southeast of Garnay and received small-arms fire from multiple locations. The combined force continued to receive small-arms fire sporadically throughout the day.
During a search of the village, Afghan soldiers found a cache containing an infantry rifle, 200 rounds of ammunition and various bomb-making materials.
No civilian injuries or collateral damage were reported during these operations, officials said.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases