Afghanistan — Operation Improves Security in Afghan Province

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