WASHINGTON, June 28, 2010 — Precision air strikes, a pitched battle with insurgents in Kunar province and the killing or capture of key enemy fighters highlight recent operations in Afghanistan, military officials reported.
A precision air strike called in by a combined Afghan-international security force killed several insurgents, including a Haqqani terrorist network roadside-bomb cell leader, while the insurgents were planting a roadside bomb in Khost province last night.
After international forces confirmed insurgent activity and that no civilians were at risk, they called for the air strike as the terrorist cell members were planting the bomb on a main route in the province’s Matun district. Following the air strike, an Afghan and international ground force went to the site and found multiple roadside bombs and weapons, as well as the cell leader and several members of his cell killed by the precision strike.
In Logar province last night, an Afghan and international security force captured a Taliban facilitator who actively participated in roadside-bomb attacks throughout the province’s Baraki Barak district. The facilitator also is linked to mortar attacks against Forward Operating Base Shank, about six miles from where he was captured.
The security force went to a series of compounds in the province’s Pul-e Alam district to search the area. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all everyone to come outside, and then cleared the compounds, detaining the facilitator. No shots were fired, and women and children were protected by the combined security force throughout the search. Afghan forces working with International Security Assistance Force partners rescued two Afghan National Police officers in Ghazni province yesterday. The police officers had been held hostage for almost a week. As the combined force approached the compound where the officers were being held, several insurgents were seen fleeing. The combined force rescued both officers without firing a shot.
In Kandahar province yesterday, an Afghan patrol found a large weapons cache during a search of a compound. The cache contained 13 homemade bombs, about 10 pounds of explosive material, five artillery rounds and more than 1,700 rounds of small-arms ammunition.
An Afghan-international security force killed a Taliban commander and several armed individuals in Kandahar last night. The Taliban commander, Shyster Uhstad Khan, took over the duties of senior Taliban facilitator after his predecessor was detained by Afghan and coalition forces earlier this year. He was involved in the distribution and purchase of roadside bombs.
The Afghan-led security force went to a compound outside Kandahar City to search the area and was immediately engaged by hostile fire. Afghan and coalition forces returned fire and killed several armed individuals, including Khan. After securing the compound, the combined force detained a suspect who is believed to have direct contact with senior Taliban members near the Afghan capital of Kabul and to facilitate delivery of bomb components to Kabul. No damage was done to the compound, and several women and children were protected throughout the search, officials said.
A combined force of more than 600 Afghan and ISAF forces was conducting operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in Kunar province yesterday. Early reports said a number of insurgents had been killed in the operation against al-Qaida and Taliban leadership in the area.
The combined force took precautions to prevent collateral damage, and ISAF had no reports yesterday of injuries to civilians during the battle, which was ongoing at last report. On June 26, An Afghan-international security force killed a number of insurgents with a precision air strike in Kunduz province’s Chahar Darah district. The Kunduz police chief and national security directorate sources reported that a Taliban commander who was a senior foreign-fighter and weapons facilitator was among those killed in the strike, military officials said. The commander coordinated logistical support and operations with the Taliban’s Pakistan foreign-fighter cell leadership, and formerly was in charge of the Taliban in the Gor Tappa region, before stepping into an advisory role.
The air strike wounded two additional insurgents, who were driven to a local hospital by another suspected Taliban insurgent. All three are now in the custody of the national security directorate.
After verifying insurgent activity and conducting careful planning to avoid civilian casualties and mitigate collateral damage, officials said, coalition aircraft were called in for the precision air strike against the insurgents, who were meeting at a field in an unpopulated area of the district.
Brig. Gen. Abdul Razaq Yaqubi, Kunduz police chief, confirmed the air strike in the Taliban safe-haven area of Bagh-i-Shirkat on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Kunduz City. Provincial government leadership expressed support for the operation and recognized the combined force’s efforts to avoid civilian causalities. No civilians were harmed during the operation.
Also on June 26, an Afghan-led combined force searched a compound in Uruzgan province’s Khas Uruzgan district and seized a weapons cache that included 190 rocket-propelled grenade boosters, 81 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 30 cases of machine-gun ammunition, 20 hand grenade fuses, 15 hand grenades; 14 82 mm recoilless rifle rounds, a machine gun with 10 replacement barrels and a flare gun.
Afghan forces with ISAF partners conducted multiple operations in the western and southern provinces of Afghanistan on June 25.
In Farah province, an Afghan-led combined force searched a compound in the Karez-e Jamal Zal village and seized a weapons cache that included six rocket-propelled grenades, a mortar round and various bomb components. Several suspects were detained, and women and children in the compound were protected by the combined force.
In the Rig Desert of Kandahar province, a combined force led by Afghan special police interdicted narcotics smugglers to disrupt insurgent funding gained through the sale of illegal narcotics. Two men were taken into police custody. The police confiscated a shotgun, an assault rifle and almost 2,900 pounds of opium, all of which was destroyed on site.
On the night of June 25, a combined Afghan-international force killed the senior Taliban commander in northern Logar province. Intelligence sources tracked Ghulam Sakhi to a compound in the Pul-e Alam district, where the combined force went to apprehend him. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker and called for women and children to come out of the building. As they were exiting, Sakhi came out with the group disguised in women’s attire. He pulled out a pistol and a grenade and shot at the security force. When Afghan and coalition forces shot him, he dropped the grenade, which detonated, wounding a woman and two children. The assault force immediately evacuated the wounded for medical care.
Sakhi, who is known by several aliases, was involved in roadside-bomb attacks, ambushes and indirect-fire attacks throughout the province. He also kidnapped and killed a national security directorate chief in Logar province.
After securing the compound, the assault force detained several suspected insurgents for questioning.
Also on the night of June 25, a combined Afghan-international force killed several insurgents with a precision air strike in Zabul province in continuing operations aimed at dismantling bombing cells operating in the province’s Mizan and Tarnak Wa Jaldak districts.
The combined security force verified insurgent activity, and after careful planning in order to avoid civilian casualties and mitigate collateral damage, called in the air strike on the insurgents in a remote area in the Tarnak Wa Jaldak district.
After the air strike, the combined security force found and destroyed bomb-making materials found at the scene.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases