WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2010 — Coalition and Afghan forces disrupted numerous Taliban compounds throughout Afghanistan in recent days, detaining dozens of insurgent suspects and killing several in firefights, military officials reported.
Several operations occurred in Helmand province, where combined International Security Assistance Force and Afghan army units detained at least 20 suspects yesterday and degraded Taliban strongholds.
Acting on intelligence reports and tips from civilians, a combined security force detained 18 suspects in an operation targeting a compound linked to a key Taliban commander with expertise in rocket and mortar use who has conducted numerous indirect-fire attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
The commander is associated with senior Taliban commanders in the area and is alleged to be the critical weapons and explosives supply link between local Taliban and their suppliers in Pakistan.
After the combined force secured the compound, they made several call-outs to allow numerous men, women and children to come out peacefully. The 18 suspects were detained without incident. Forces destroyed 22 pounds of wet opium found at the scene.
Also in Helmand:
— A combined force detained several suspected insurgents last night while in pursuit of a local Taliban leader and Nawah elder who participates in small-arms and bombing attacks. Intelligence tips led the force to target a compound in the Nawah-ye Barakzai district to search for the man. After questioning residents at scene, the force detained the suspected insurgents. The security force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search. Wet opium was found at the scene.
— Combined forces detained two suspected insurgents Sept. 11 while in pursuit of a Taliban commander known to profit from trafficking weapons, money, equipment and roadside-bomb components for a Pakistani-based terrorist network. The commander and his fighters also conduct attacks along Afghanistan’s only major commercial highway, Highway 1, which runs through Lashkar Gah and Maiwand districts. Intelligence tips led the force to a compound in Lashkar Gah district to search for the commander. Afghan and coalition forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully and then secured the area before detaining the suspected insurgents.
— Combined forces detained six suspected insurgents during an intelligence-driven Sept. 10 operation while in pursuit of a Taliban commander who participates in intimidation campaigns and assassinations — including the murder of the Nawa district council chief — for supporting the Afghan government. The force found 50 pounds of wet opium at the scene.
— Coalition and Afghan forces came under sustained small-arms fire during a Sept. 8 patrol. As the Afghan-led force approached a village near Sangin, insurgents began shooting at them from a nearby compound. The force returned fire while seeking cover. After assessing they would not harm women or children, the force requested close-air support to hold the insurgents in place. After a lull in activities, followed by more enemy indirect-fire attacks, coalition air support was again called in to engage the insurgents, resulting in 10 insurgent deaths. Initial reports indicate there was no damage to local compounds or injuries to women or children.
In Kandahar province:
— Combined forces detained four suspected insurgents at a campsite in the Arghandab district yesterday while in pursuit of a Taliban facilitator who coordinates the movement of weapons and supplies. The force didn’t fire their weapons, and protected women and children who were present.
— An insurgent roadside-bomb detonated in the Zharay district Sept. 11, killing an Afghan couple and wounding six of their children. Four of the wounded children were brought to a coalition combat outpost for medical treatment, and two were transferred to Kandahar Airfield for further treatment.
— Combined forces conducted clearing operations in the Zharay district Sept. 8–10. The force came under insurgent fire in the heavily Taliban-populated area. Coalition aircraft and ground forces suppressed multiple enemy positions, and coalition forces conducted precision air strikes, destroyed multiple enemy fighting positions. The security force protected women and children throughout the operation.
In Khost province:
— Afghan and coalition forces captured a Haqqani terrorist network facilitator, along with several insurgents, during overnight operations Sept. 11. The forces found the facilitator, known for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and kidnapping local civilians, and two of his associates hiding in a field in the Bak district and detained them without incident. A separate combined detained other suspected Haqqani insurgents in the neighboring Terayzai district. The security force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the searches.
— In a Sept. 10 operation, combined forces detained a Haqqani cell leader responsible for attacks against coalition forces operating in the Bak district, along with two of his associates. Intelligence reports led the force to a compound to search for the facilitator. The force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search.
In Logar province:
— A combined force detained a suspected insurgent Sept. 10 while in pursuit of a Taliban fighter who coordinates suicide bombers. The facilitator maintains strong connections with the Haqqani network and regularly participates in cross-border facilitation. Acting on intelligence information, the force targeted a compound in Kamalkhel in Pul‑e Alam district to search for the man. The force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children throughout the search.
In Kabul province:
— Coalition forces killed Nur Mohammad, a senior commander involved in bombing attacks in Kabul City, with a precision air strike Sept. 10.
In Nangarhar province:
— Afghan and coalition forces in the Khugyani district killed five insurgents overnight Sept. 11, including Qari Wali, a Taliban commander who participated in intimidation campaigns and assassinations and was directly linked to a February suicide-bomber attack that killed a Khogyani elder. Intelligence indicated Qari Wali was planning rocket attacks against area voting centers during next week’s elections. As the security force moved to breach the targeted compound, several armed insurgents inside displayed hostile intent. The force engaged and killed five insurgents, including Qari Wali, while protecting women and children. They also discovered multiple weapons and a grenade on the scene.
— A combined force detained several insurgents Sept. 10 during their pursuit of a Taliban roadside-bomb expert. As the security force approached the targeted compound in Sherzad district, they noticed an armed insurgent move to a tree line near the compound. When the security force attempted to interdict the man, he fired at them. The assault force returned fire, killing him. They found an automatic weapon and a chest rack with him. Simultaneously, Afghan forces conducted a call-out on the targeted compound. The occupants complied, and after questioning of the residents at the scene, the force detained four insurgents. The security force discovered bomb-making material, including blasting caps, at the scene, and protected women and children throughout the operation.
In Paktia province:
— Combined forces detained four insurgents Sept. 10, including a Taliban operative who supplies weapons and bombs to foreign fighters in an intelligence-driven operation in the Gardez district. As they cleared the compound, the force detected explosives at a locked door and blew it open. The room subsequently caught fire. The security force evacuated the area, safeguarded all the occupants, and put out the fire before it could spread to other buildings. No one was hurt in the blaze, and the Afghan and coalition force compensated the residents for the damage.
In Paktika province:
— A combined force detained a Taliban district member and two of his associates yesterday during continued efforts to reduce the insurgent threat prior to parliamentary elections. The suspect actively participates in Taliban propaganda campaigns and was planning to disrupt the elections, officials said. Intelligence tips led the force to target a compound in the Sharan district. After questioning residents, the force identified and detained the man his associates. The force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children during the search.
In Uruzgan province:
— Combined forces killed 14 insurgents after coming under fire while conducting a security patrol yesterday. After coming under small-arms fire and assault from an anti-aircraft machine gun, the patrol, after determining there was no chance for civilian casualties, requested air support to suppress the insurgents. Coalition aircraft engaged the position with a precision-guided munition, but the insurgents had repositioned the weapon system. The impact killed three insurgents. The coalition aircraft found the anti-aircraft gun’s new location and destroyed it. Reports also identified up to 15 insurgents massing to conduct another attack on the partnered force. Aviation assets again were requested, and 11 insurgents were killed by precision-guided munitions. Initial reports indicated no civilian casualties.
— A combined force detained three insurgents in the Tarin Kot district yesterday, including the Taliban commander responsible for western Kandahar province. The force did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children during the search.
In Zabul province:
— An Afghan-led security force retrieved a large cache of homemade explosives and bomb-making materials in Shawkhel village Sept. 9. The team recovered about 45 pounds of homemade explosives and other materials material, as well as a letter revealing the name of the suspect who assembled the cache and the names of other suspected insurgents.
— In an intelligence-driven operation, combined forces detained four suspected insurgents in the Shah Joy district Sept. 10 while in pursuit of a Taliban commander involved in the production and planning of bombing attacks. The force did not fire their weapons, and they protected the women and children during the search.
In other news from Afghanistan, a joint assessment team of ISAF officials and representatives from the Afghan interior and defense ministries completed an assessment of possible civilian casualties in a Sept. 2 operation in Takhar province. The team determined the intended target of the operation was in the vehicle that was struck in the air strike, but could not rule out the possibility of civilian casualties.
“We are very confident that the targeted individual was in the vehicle struck by the air weapons team and was killed,” said Italian Army Brig. Gen. Luigi Scollo, ISAF Joint Command operations chief and team lead. “The question remains why an election official or candidate was traveling with a known terrorist.”
The target of the operation was Muhammad Amin, an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan senior member, believed to be the deputy shadow governor for Takhar province. Also in the vehicle was a Taliban commander, along with other passengers who were carrying weapons.
Initial media reports indicated the vehicle struck was part of an election party. However, after reviewing the air weapons system video, the team saw no evidence of political campaign material on the outside of the vehicle.
“The information that led to this strike was extremely accurate,” Scollo said. “Intelligence had tracked Amin traveling in a sedan on a series of remote roads in Rustaq district. He was in a six-vehicle convoy, and only the vehicle he was in was hit. It was selective, surgical and legitimate.”
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases