WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2010 — Four International Security Assistance Force servicemembers were wounded in eastern Afghanistan on Aug. 16 by a grenade thrown from a mosque, military officials reported today.
ISAF and Afghan forces were conducting a partnered patrol in Wardak province’s Sayyidabad district when the grenade was thrown, and they did not return fire. Afghan soldiers took the lead and searched the mosque and surrounding area, but no insurgents were found at the site.
The ISAF servicemembers did not enter the mosque, officials said, and the wounded were taken to an ISAF facility for treatment.
In another Aug. 16 operation, multiple intelligence sources and tips from Afghan citizens led coalition forces to rescue 27 Afghan men who were held prisoner illegally by the Taliban in a makeshift prison compound near Musa Qaleh in Helmand province. The targeted compound was associated with a Sangin-based Taliban commander.
Insurgents began firing at combined forces immediately upon their arrival. During the subsequent engagement, 13 insurgents were killed when they refused to lay down their weapons. Afghan forces then used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to come out of the buildings while combined forces secured the area.
During the search of the compound, the combined forces discovered 27 men who were shackled and appeared to have been tortured. The men were taken to an ISAF base for medical screening and debriefing. Officials from the Afghan interior ministry and ISAF forces are identifying the men and determining their status. Numerous weapons were also discovered in the compound. No civilians were hurt in the operation.
ISAF Joint Command officials also provided details on numerous recent operations in Afghanistan. In Helmand province:
— An Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected insurgents in the remote Marja district Aug. 16 in their continued pursuit of a Nawah-ye Barakzai Taliban leader that ISAF officials believe to be the acting district commander of the Nawa Taliban network, a position he likely assumed after the capture of several members of this network since May. The assault force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search.
— An Afghan and coalition security force killed a Taliban insurgent and detained several suspected insurgents in the Lashkar Gah district Aug. 16 while in pursuit of a Taliban commander who profits from the trafficking of weapons, money, equipment, and bomb components for a Pakistani-based network that operates in Kandahar province’s Maiwand district. The Taliban commander and his fighters also conduct attacks along Afghanistan’s only major commercial highway, Highway 1, which runs through Lashkar Gah and Maiwand districts and is the main route used by civilians. During the search that led to the detention of seven suspects, the security force found a large amount of cannabis plants surrounding the targeted compound, as well as large piles of dried poppies. As the security force was leaving the area, an armed insurgent was shot and killed when he was seen maneuvering on the departing force and showing hostile intent. The security force protected women and children during the search.
— ISAF officials confirmed the capture of a senior Taliban commander and member of the Nawa Military Commission who was responsible for decisions involving military operations and matters of governance within the Taliban-controlled areas of Nawah-ye Barakzai district. He was among several suspected Taliban insurgents detained during an Aug. 16 Afghan and coalition force operation.
In Kandahar province:
— Coalition forces conducted a precision air strike Aug. 16, killing a Taliban commander who planned and coordinated bombing attacks against Afghan civilians and Afghan and coalition forces. The commander also facilitated the transportation of weapons and military material for his fighters. After positively identifying the commander and carefully planning to avoid civilian casualties, coalition forces conducted the strike in a rural field far from civilian villages in the Arghandab district. A follow-on ground force went to the site and verified the commander was killed. No civilians were wounded or killed in the strike.
— Afghan and coalition forces killed 10 Taliban insurgents in the Panjwai district Aug. 16 while in pursuit of a Taliban commander responsible for arranging weapons deliveries and settling allocation disputes. As the security force approached the targeted compound, a group of insurgents ran from the compound in various directions. While a ground force pursued the insurgents, an air weapons team engaged them after they were declared an imminent threat toward the assault force, killing six insurgents. Inside the targeted compound, the rest of the security force found and destroyed a large weapons cache. No women or children were present in the building. As the security force prepared to depart the area, a group of four insurgents engaged them. The air weapons team engaged the insurgents, killing them.
— Afghan and coalition forces operating in the Arghandab district were attacked with small-arms fire by insurgents yesterday. After positively identifying the insurgents, the combined force returned fire. An Afghan civilian caught in the crossfire while irrigating a crop field was killed. Coalition forces plan to meet with local elders to discuss the incident, which is under investigation.
In Khost province:
— An Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected insurgents in the remote Sabari district Aug. 16, including a Haqqani terrorist network facilitator responsible for coordinating the movement of munitions and supplies into his area. The security force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search. In Nangarhar province:
— Two insurgents were killed and several others were detained by an Afghan and coalition security force in the Surkh Rod district Aug. 16 during the continued pursuit of a Taliban bomb expert who specializes in dual-tone multifrequency devices and is linked to at least two attacks. As the force approached the targeted compound, they immediately received enemy fire from multiple locations. The assault force killed two of the enemy fighters and disarmed a third, who was taken into coalition custody along with several others. Women and children were protected throughout the operation.
In Paktia province:
— An Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected Taliban insurgents in the Zurmat district Aug. 16 while in pursuit of a Taliban subcommander who is a highly active bomb expert. The assault force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search.
In Parwan province:
— Coalition forces recovered a munitions cache in the Bagram district Aug. 15. An explosive ordnance disposal team recovered the munitions cache, which included more than 50 rocket-propelled grenades, and safely transported it to Bagram Airfield.
In Zabul province:
— An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in Aug. 16 while in pursuit of a cross-district Taliban commander and facilitator operating in the Shah Joy and Gelan districts in neighboring Ghazni province. The commander is bomb expert who specializes in the facilitation, construction and placement of roadside bombs and also is linked to vehicle-borne bomb attacks. The assault force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search.
In other news, an Afghan civilian was killed and another was injured in a roadside-bomb blast in Kandahar’s Zharay district yesterday. Also yesterday, a man and a 4‑year-old boy were killed and a woman was wounded when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Heart province’s Shindand district.
The wounded woman -– the boy’s grandmother — was carried into a combat outpost for treatment by U.S. special operations forces medical personnel. The medical staff provided immediate medical treatment and requested a helicopter to transfer the injured woman to a medical facility for follow-on care.
Recent data released by the independent Afghan Rights Monitor estimates that insurgent actions have caused 1,074 civilian deaths this year.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases