WASHINGTON, May 28, 2010 — Afghan soldiers, supported by International Security Assistance Force troops, have completed a clearing operation aimed at disrupting insurgent presence in and around Bala Murghab, north of Heart in Afghanistan’s Badghis province, military officials reported.
After several days of fighting, Afghan soldiers and their coalition partners, using close-air support and mortar fire, removed insurgents from the southern edge of Bala Murghab during Operation “Subh Bakhair,” or “Good Morning.”
The increased security is allowing Afghan and international forces to distribute food and provide medical assistance to residents, officials said. It’s also allowing long-term projects to begin, including the renovation of a bridge on the river Darya-Ye-Murghab, which will link several communities in the area.
The operation is the first phase of operations to allow for the completion of Highway 1 in the province. The section running through Bala Murghab is unpaved, officials noted, which greatly hinders travel and commerce in northwestern Afghanistan.
In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan and international partners discovered and destroyed two bomb factories in Kandahar province recently.
An Afghan-international security force found insurgents, weapons and homemade bombs during a clearing operation this week. A large combined force searched several compounds, buildings and open fields for insurgents and their weapons after intelligence information verified militant activity in an area south of the village of Kudezai.
During the two-day operation, the security force found a bomb factory with high explosives, mortar rounds, many active bombs, including one planted inside a house, as well as rocket-propelled grenades, and automatic rifles and hand grenades. The illegal munitions were destroyed in place.
During the search, insurgents tried to engage the combined force, and several were shot and killed. Several suspected insurgents were detained for questioning, and many women and children were protected during the operation, officials said.
Afghan army commandos, assisted by U.S. special operations forces, also destroyed a bomb factory in Kandahar province May 24. As the combined force searched several compounds, they were engaged multiple times with small-arms, rocket and mortar fire during the 20-hour mission. The combined force returned fire from their ground positions and from a supporting helicopter, killing several armed insurgents.
During a search of the compounds, the combined force found two homemade bombs rigged to detonate, 16 anti-personnel mines, laboratory equipment and bomb-making materials, as well as ammonium nitrate and other fertilizer used in the construction of roadside bombs. The combined force also found numerous mines throughout a nearby poppy field. The compound with the ammonium nitrate and anti-personnel mines was determined unsafe, and coalition close-air support was called in to destroy the materials after Afghan commandos cleared all areas of civilians.
In a separate operation, an Afghan-international security force detained several individuals suspected of insurgent activity in Nimroz province yesterday. The security team intercepted the suspects in a vehicle in a rural area in the Kash Rod district after intelligence information confirmed insurgent activity.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases