Coalition, Afghan Forces Detain Insurgents

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.”

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

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