Afghans, Coalition Broaden Assault on Insurgent Leaders

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2011 — Coali­tion and Afghan forces have removed dozens of insur­gents from the fight across broad sec­tions of Afghanistan in recent days, includ­ing 15 in the past 24 hours, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force mem­bers have killed 15 insur­gent fight­ers in sep­a­rate oper­a­tions in east­ern Afghanistan since yes­ter­day.

In Kunar province, a coali­tion air weapons team killed numer­ous insur­gents after they engaged a coali­tion foot patrol with small-arms fire in the Dan­gam dis­trict.

In a sep­a­rate clear­ing oper­a­tion in Kunar’s Shi­gal wa Sheltan dis­trict, anoth­er ISAF patrol was engaged by insur­gents with small-arms fire and rock­et-pro­pelled grenades. Again, a coali­tion air weapons team was called in and killed numer­ous insur­gents.

In oth­er oper­a­tions today:

— An Afghan civil­ian was seri­ous­ly wound­ed by device road­side bomb in Kan­da­har province’s Pan­jwai dis­trict of and was tak­en by Afghan civil­ians to a local hos­pi­tal.

— Afghan forces and ISAF troops dis­cov­ered sev­er­al large weapons caches dur­ing clear­ing oper­a­tions in Kan­da­har, Uruz­gan and Hel­mand provinces. Ini­tial reports indi­cate no civil­ians were injured, and no dam­age was report­ed dur­ing the oper­a­tions. The weapons, bomb-mak­ing com­po­nents and chem­i­cals were con­fis­cat­ed and will be destroyed.

ISAF offi­cials con­firmed the deaths of two senior Tal­iban lead­ers, Moham­mad Gul and Abdul Gha­far, killed by coali­tion and Afghan forces in War­dak province Jan. 14 and 15, respec­tive­ly. Gul oper­at­ed in the Nerkh dis­trict, pro­vid­ing weapons and bomb com­po­nents to Tal­iban lead­ers and insur­gents. Gha­far was respon­si­ble for attacks against coali­tion forces in Wardak’s north­west­ern areas, lead­ing road­side-bomb and direct-fire attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces.

Yes­ter­day, Afghan and coali­tion forces tar­get­ed Tal­iban lead­ers in Farah, Kan­da­har, Nan­garhar and Pak­tia provinces, detain­ing more than 10 sus­pects.

In the west­ern province of Farah, com­bined forces were tar­get­ed a Tal­iban leader involved in plant­i­ng road­side bombs in the Khak-e Safayd and Pusht-e Rod dis­tricts when they detained mul­ti­ple oth­er insur­gent sus­pects. The man, who is sub­or­di­nate to the dis­trict Tal­iban shad­ow gov­er­nor, is sus­pect­ed in the kid­nap­ping of two Afghans in the area.

Secu­ri­ty forces fol­lowed leads to the tar­get loca­tions where they dis­cov­ered an assault rifle, mul­ti­ple grenades, a chest rack, ammu­ni­tion and a Tal­iban “night let­ter” used to threat­en and intim­i­date local res­i­dents.

In Kan­da­har, Afghan and coali­tion forces detained sev­er­al insur­gent sus­pects while tar­get­ing a Tal­iban leader respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing attacks in the Mai­wand dis­trict.

In Nan­garhar, com­bined forces detained a sus­pect while tar­get­ing a Tal­iban weapons and finance leader in the Behsud dis­trict. The tar­get­ed man is respon­si­ble for direct-fire attacks against coali­tion forces in the Sherzad dis­trict, and offi­cials said he orga­nizes, sells and dis­trib­utes weapons, nar­cotics and funds for Tal­iban insur­gents in the region.

In Pak­tia, Afghan and coali­tion forces detained a sus­pect­ed insur­gent while look­ing for the Gardez Tal­iban leader. The tar­get­ed man is involved in road­side-bomb attacks on coali­tion forces and is sus­pect­ed of recent­ly help­ing an insur­gent who plant­ed a bomb tar­get­ing Afghan police. Secu­ri­ty forces found an auto­mat­ic weapon, a pis­tol, a chest rack and ammu­ni­tion.

In an oper­a­tion yes­ter­day, Afghan and coali­tion forces detained a Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work leader along with sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Khost province. The leader, who iden­ti­fied him­self dur­ing a search of a com­pound, is believed to be respon­si­ble for ambush­es and road­side-bomb attacks against secu­ri­ty forces. The cap­ture of the men brought to more than 25 the num­ber of Haqqani lead­ers detained, along with 125 oth­er Haqqani insur­gents, since Dec. 1, offi­cials said.

In oper­a­tions in south­ern and east­ern Afghanistan on Jan. 17 and 16:

— In Hel­mand province, coali­tion forces spot­ted sev­er­al insur­gents plant­i­ng a road­side bomb in the Kaja­ki dis­trict. After gain­ing pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, coali­tion forces engaged the ene­my posi­tion with mor­tar and small-arms fire, killing one insur­gent and dis­pers­ing the oth­ers.

— Also in Hel­mand, com­bined forces saw insur­gents plant­i­ng a bomb in the San­gin dis­trict and, after estab­lish­ing pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, engaged the ene­my posi­tion with small-arms fire, killing one and forc­ing the oth­ers to flee.

— Also in San­gin, an ISAF patrol was engaged by insur­gents with small-arms fire and rock­et-pro­pelled grenades. Coali­tion forces returned fire, killing one insur­gent. In the same area, dur­ing a sep­a­rate oper­a­tion, com­bined forces spot­ted two insur­gents plant­i­ng a bomb and fired on them, killing one and caus­ing the oth­er to flee.

— In Hel­mand, an air weapons team gained pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion on an insur­gent plant­i­ng a bomb in the Nahr-e Saraj dis­trict and killed him.

— In Ghazni province, an ISAF patrol detained an insur­gent who owns a shop that stored bomb-mak­ing com­po­nents in the Andar dis­trict.

— Afghan and ISAF forces dis­cov­ered sev­er­al weapons caches dur­ing sep­a­rate clear­ing oper­a­tions in Kan­da­har and Hel­mand provinces, includ­ing bomb-mak­ing com­po­nents, rock­ets, mor­tar rounds, artillery rounds and hand grenades. Ini­tial reports indi­cate no civil­ians were injured and no dam­age was report­ed dur­ing the clear­ing oper­a­tions. The weapons, bomb com­po­nents and chem­i­cals were con­fis­cat­ed and will be destroyed.

— In Kab­ul, Afghan forces detained an alleged Tal­iban leader and bomb expert and an asso­ciate known to have been involved in rock­et attacks and direct-fire attacks in Bagh­lan and sur­round­ing provinces. They also are report­ed to have ties to bomb-attack facil­i­ta­tors in Pak­istan and are sus­pect­ed in the mur­ders of sev­er­al civil­ians and gov­ern­ment offi­cials.

— A com­bined force dis­rupt­ed an insur­gent smug­gling route in Kan­da­har and Hel­mand provinces. As the force moved to stop and search a tar­get­ed vehi­cle, three occu­pants got out and tried to run away. As the force secured the vehi­cle and moved to clear the sur­round­ing area, two of the men fired at them. The secu­ri­ty force returned fire, killing the insur­gents. The third man attempt­ed to fire on the secu­ri­ty force, and was engaged by an air weapons team and killed. The secu­ri­ty force searched the vehi­cle and found two rock­et-pro­pelled grenade launch­ers, a machine gun and 5,000 7.62 mm rounds. The weapons were safe­ly destroyed on site. Ini­tial reports indi­cate no civil­ians were injured dur­ing the oper­a­tion.

-– Afghan police and ISAF forces found and cleared a sui­cide vest from a mosque in Kan­da­har City. The police request­ed assis­tance from an ISAF explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al team and escort­ed them to the device, which was hid­den in the mosque’s tow­er. The EOD team safe­ly removed the vest from the tow­er. It was rigged with ball bear­ings, a grenade and near­ly 20 pounds of explo­sives. After the vest was removed, but before it could be prop­er­ly destroyed, it det­o­nat­ed, caus­ing exter­nal dam­age to the mosque and sur­round­ing build­ing. No civil­ians were injured.

-– Nine Afghan civil­ians were killed Jan. 16 when the taxi they were rid­ing in struck a road­side bomb in Bagh­lan province’s Pul-e Khu­mi dis­trict.

Numer­ous insur­gents were killed and oth­ers wound­ed by Afghan and coali­tion forces dur­ing clear­ing and secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions in south­ern and east­ern Afghanistan on Jan. 16 and 15. In Hel­mand, insur­gents hid­ing in a build­ing in the Musa Qaah dis­trict fired on a patrol of com­bined forces. Coali­tion forces returned fire with anti-armour mis­siles and called for air sup­port, which destroyed the build­ing and killed two insur­gents.

In Kunar’s Dan­gam dis­trict, an air weapons team in sup­port of ground forces in the area declared an immi­nent threat when they spot­ted armed insur­gents mov­ing in a his­tor­i­cal fight­ing loca­tion. After estab­lish­ing pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, the team engaged the ene­my posi­tion, killing numer­ous insur­gents and dis­pers­ing the oth­ers.

On Jan. 15, Afghan and ISAF forces dis­cov­ered sev­er­al weapons caches dur­ing sep­a­rate clear­ing oper­a­tions in Log­ar province, Pak­ti­ka, and Kan­da­har provinces that includ­ed mor­tar rounds, grenades, radios, ammu­ni­tion, assault rifles, and bomb com­po­nents. In Hel­mand, they found a cache con­tain­ing 440 pounds of mar­i­jua­na.

Ini­tial reports indi­cate no civil­ians were injured and no dam­age was report­ed dur­ing the clear­ing oper­a­tions. The weapons, explo­sives and drugs from all the provinces were con­fis­cat­ed and will be destroyed.

In oth­er oper­a­tions Jan. 15:

— A com­bined team tar­get­ed a Tal­iban bomb-attack facil­i­ta­tor in Helmand’s San­gin dis­trict. Intel­li­gence reports led them to a com­pound where Afghan forces called out for occu­pants to exit peace­ful­ly. Two women and four chil­dren exit­ed peace­ful­ly. Two men also exit­ed. One was detained and the oth­er led the force into a build­ing. As he led the force into one of the rooms, he reached behind a mat­tress, pulled out a hand grenade, and tried to throw it in the direc­tion of the force. He was shot and killed as he threw the grenade. The force took cov­er as the grenade explod­ed. No injuries were report­ed.

— Afghan and coali­tion forces tar­get­ed a Tal­iban leader dur­ing a secu­ri­ty oper­a­tion, detain­ing two sus­pects and killing two armed insur­gents in War­dak province. Secu­ri­ty forces were search­ing a com­pound in the Nerkh dis­trict where two insur­gents fired on them. They returned fire, killing both. The secu­ri­ty force detained two sus­pects after ini­tial ques­tion­ing. They also recov­ered mul­ti­ple assault rifles, hand grenades, chest racks and ammu­ni­tion.

— In Kan­da­har province, com­bined forces detained sev­er­al insur­gents while tar­get­ing a Tal­iban leader known for bomb attacks in the Mai­wand dis­trict. The force detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents after ini­tial ques­tion­ing at the scene.

— Sev­en road­side bombs were iden­ti­fied and dis­posed of by secu­ri­ty forces with the help of local Afghans in the Gor Tepa region of Kun­duz province. Secu­ri­ty forces were in the area of the Shin­wari vil­lage remov­ing two bombs when local Afghans approached them and turned over five amore.

— Three Afghan civil­ians were killed and one was seri­ous­ly wound­ed when the car they were rid­ing in struck a road­side bomb in Daykun­di province’s Giz­ab dis­trict. Afghan secu­ri­ty forces respond­ed to assist the wound­ed and inves­ti­gate. The wound­ed per­son was tak­en to a local hos­pi­tal.

— In Hel­mand, an ISAF patrol spot­ted an insur­gent plant­i­ng a bomb in the Nahr-e Saraj dis­trict. After gain­ing pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, coali­tion forces engaged the ene­my posi­tion with small-arms fire, killing the insur­gent. In the same province, an air weapons team patrolling the area saw two insur­gents mov­ing toward a fight­ing loca­tion used in the past in the Lashkar Gah dis­trict. After estab­lish­ing pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, the air weapons team engaged the ene­my posi­tion, killing two insur­gents.

— Also in Helmand’s San­gin dis­trict, a com­bined patrol spot­ted insur­gents dis­play­ing hos­tile actions against friend­ly forces. After gain­ing pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, com­bined forces engaged the ene­my posi­tion, killing one insur­gent.

— Dur­ing an ISAF patrol, coali­tion forces observed sev­er­al insur­gents plant­i­ng a road­side bomb in Helmand’s Nahr-e Saraj dis­trict. Coali­tion forces estab­lished pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and engaged the ene­my posi­tion with small-arms fire, killing one insur­gent and dis­pers­ing the oth­ers.

— Com­bined forces dis­cov­ered sev­er­al caches dur­ing sep­a­rate clear­ing oper­a­tions in Her­at and Khost, Bagh­lan, and Kan­da­har provinces. The caches includ­ed rock­ets, explo­sives, grenades, anti-per­son­nel mine, rifle rounds, fus­es, mor­tar rounds and a rock­et boost­er. Afghan Bor­der Police found 165 pounds of hero­in in Kan­da­har province. The weapons, explo­sives and drugs were con­fis­cat­ed and will be destroyed.

On Jan. 14:

ISAF offi­cials con­firmed a Tal­iban leader who oper­ates out of Kandahar’s Mai­wand dis­trict was detained dur­ing a com­bined oper­a­tion. He is believed to be respon­si­ble for attacks against mil­i­tary forces as well as the move­ment of weapons and bomb com­po­nents.

ISAF con­firmed the death of a mid-lev­el Tal­iban leader dur­ing a com­bined oper­a­tion in Helmand’s Nawah-ye Barakzai dis­trict. Musa Kalim was known for bomb­ing attacks.

In oth­er news from Afghanistan, ISAF offi­cials are inves­ti­gat­ing a Jan. 15 shoot­ing in Hel­mand province that led to the death of an Afghan police offi­cer. Accord­ing to ini­tial reports, the Afghan police offi­cer and a U.S. Marine had a dis­pute while con­duct­ing sta­t­ic secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions in the San­gin dis­trict. After the dis­pute, the uni­formed police offi­cer report­ed­ly was mak­ing threat­en­ing state­ments and han­dling his weapon care­less­ly. The Marine report­ed the behav­ior to his chain of com­mand and sergeant of the guard. After depart­ing his post, the police offi­cer returned with his weapon raised and point­ed it toward the Marine. The Marine respond­ed with esca­la­tion of force pro­ce­dures, includ­ing shout­ing at the man to put the weapon down. The man failed to com­ply, and the Marine fired two rounds, killing him.

Mean­while, an avi­a­tion detach­ment from the 26th Marine Expe­di­tionary Unit began arriv­ing at Camp Leath­er­neck in Hel­mand province.

The detach­ment con­sists of sev­er­al Marines from var­i­ous units aug­ment­ed to ele­ments of the bat­tal­ion land­ing team from 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 8th Marine Reg­i­ment. Part of their mis­sion will con­sist of con­duct­ing patrols and pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty as roads are improved in north­ern Hel­mand.

Source:
Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es

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