Forces Protect Afghans During Elections

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2010 — Afghan and coali­tion forces pro­tect­ed Afghan cit­i­zens from numer­ous attacks planned for the Sept. 18 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions and in the days sur­round­ing them, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

In more than a dozen secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, Afghan and Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force troops cap­tured and killed numer­ous insur­gents, many in the process of plant­i­ng road­side bombs or con­duct­ing oth­er attacks meant to dis­rupt elec­tions, offi­cials said.

Com­bined forces con­duct­ed more than 15 oper­a­tions in sev­en Afghan provinces pri­or to and dur­ing the elec­tions, which result­ed in sev­en insur­gent lead­ers cap­tured and five killed, all of whom were active­ly plan­ning attacks against the elec­tions, they said.

“The insur­gents threat­ened to car­ry out spec­tac­u­lar attacks dur­ing the elec­tions; how­ev­er, they failed,” said Army Col. Rafael Tor­res, ISAF Joint Com­mand Com­bined joint oper­a­tions cen­ter direc­tor. “Afghan forces with their coali­tion part­ners dis­rupt­ed the insurgent’s plans and tight­ened secu­ri­ty through­out the coun­try. We’re hap­py that the Afghan peo­ple were afford­ed an oppor­tu­ni­ty vote and make their choic­es known.”

In Badghis province:

— A com­bined Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force on Sept. 17 detained a sus­pect­ed insur­gent believed to be plan­ning a vehi­cle-borne bomb­ing attack near a polling cen­ter. The arrest came after Afghan police spot­ted a sus­pi­cious motor­bike in a vil­lage bazaar. The motor­bike had a con­tain­er filled with explo­sives and a lap­top com­put­er bat­tery attached to it. Coali­tion forces detained a man car­ry­ing a remote con­trol and a mobile phone in the vicin­i­ty. The force hand­ed the man over to Afghan author­i­ties for pro­cess­ing, and a coali­tion explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al team dis­posed of the explo­sive device.

In Farah province:

— While on a rou­tine aer­i­al patrol, Afghan and coali­tion forces spot­ted insur­gents plant­i­ng road­side bombs in the Bak­wah dis­trict and fol­lowed the insur­gents back to their com­pound. As the com­bined force land­ed and approached the insur­gent com­pound, they received heavy small-arms fire from mul­ti­ple loca­tions. The force called for close-air sup­port to allow them to move back to the heli­copters. The insur­gents con­tin­ued to fire at the force and heli­copters as they depart­ed the area. The air­craft fired back at the insur­gent com­pound until the insur­gent fire ceased.

In Ghazni province:

— An ISAF air weapons team today killed five insur­gent fight­ers plan­ning to det­o­nate a road­side bomb. Coali­tion explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al teams inves­ti­gat­ed the site and dis­cov­ered com­mand wire, a grenade launch­er, and frag­men­ta­tion grenades.

-– A com­bined force today cap­tured a sus­pect­ed Tal­iban pro­pa­gan­da spe­cial­ist involved in film­ing elec­tion attacks. Intel­li­gence report­ing led the secu­ri­ty force overnight to a com­pound in the Ghazni dis­trict. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents, the force iden­ti­fied and detained the tar­get­ed man. The secu­ri­ty force also dis­cov­ered mul­ti­ple grenades, ammu­ni­tion and mag­a­zines along with video record­ing equip­ment at the scene.

In Hel­mand province:

-– A com­bined force detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed Tal­iban insur­gents yes­ter­day while pur­su­ing a Tal­iban leader who spe­cial­izes in build­ing road­side-bomb det­o­na­tors and ini­tia­tors. Intel­li­gence reports led the force to tar­get a com­pound in the Nahr-e Saraj dis­trict to search for the bomb expert, who reg­u­lar­ly tests and pur­chas­es Iran­ian ammo­ni­um nitrate. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents, the force detained the sus­pect­ed insur­gents. They found 45 pounds of wet opi­um on the scene.

— Com­bined forces found and destroyed explo­sives, bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als and two heavy machine guns dur­ing a Sept. 18 oper­a­tion to find a senior Tal­iban com­man­der in the south­ern Musa Qaleh dis­trict. The known rock­et and mor­tar expert is respon­si­ble for numer­ous attacks on Afghan secu­ri­ty forces, and also is a crit­i­cal explo­sives and weapons sup­ply link with insur­gents in Pak­istan. Though the tar­get­ed Tal­iban com­man­der was not found, the force found in an out­side build­ing two heavy machine guns, small-arms weapons, explo­sives and bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als, as well as what appeared to be an explo­sive stor­age room with numer­ous trip­wires. They deter­mined the build­ing was rigged to explode, and after mov­ing civil­ians to a safe dis­tance, the explo­sives were destroyed.

In Kab­ul province:

— Mul­ti­ple intel­li­gence sources and res­i­dents’ tips led Afghan and coali­tion forces to arrest a sus­pect­ed road­side-bomb traf­fick­er Sept. 18.

In Kan­da­har province:

— Coali­tion forces this morn­ing con­duct­ed a pre­ci­sion air strike on a com­pound rigged with explo­sives that was dis­cov­ered dur­ing an on-going clear­ing oper­a­tion aimed at dis­rupt­ing the Tal­iban out­side Kan­da­har City. After con­firm­ing the build­ing was bob­by-trapped and ensur­ing no civil­ians were present, coali­tion forces con­duct­ed the pre­ci­sion air strike.

In Khost province:

— Com­bined forces yes­ter­day detained two insur­gents, includ­ing a Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work sub­com­man­der who con­duct­ed attacks on coali­tion forces. Intel­li­gence reports led the force to a com­pound north­west of Khost City. The secu­ri­ty force shot and killed an armed man who approached them from an adja­cent build­ing as they were clear­ing the com­pound. After the area was secure, the force ques­tioned res­i­dents and detained the com­man­der and one of his asso­ciates. The force also found mul­ti­ple auto­mat­ic weapons, mag­a­zines and grenades.

— Coali­tion forces yes­ter­day con­firmed the cap­ture of a Haqqani weapons and ammu­ni­tion traf­fick­er dur­ing a com­bined oper­a­tion Sept. 17. Based on intel­li­gence reports, the force tar­get­ed a com­pound in the Khost dis­trict to search for the man. An insur­gent armed with an auto­mat­ic weapon, a grenade and mul­ti­ple ammu­ni­tion mag­a­zines came out of a near­by build­ing and tried to maneu­ver on the assault force. The force respond­ed, killing him. The assault force also peace­ful­ly detained two men, includ­ing the sus­pect, who attempt­ed to flee. Once the area was secure, Afghan forces used a loud­speak­er to call for all occu­pants to exit the build­ings peace­ful­ly, then the com­bined secu­ri­ty force cleared and secured the com­pound. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents, the force detained three addi­tion­al insur­gents, and found mul­ti­ple sets of mil­i­tary uni­forms, rifles and grenades.

-– Com­bined forces cap­tured a Haqqani facil­i­ta­tor who planned and con­duct­ed attacks on Afghan and coali­tion forces dur­ing a Sept. 18 oper­a­tion. They also found an auto­mat­ic weapon, ammu­ni­tion, grenade bod­ies and used rock­et motors.

In Kunar province:

— Coali­tion forces used a pre­ci­sion air strike to kill Haji Moham­mad, a key insur­gent leader and Tal­iban shad­ow gov­er­nor of the Shi­gal dis­trict as he was attempt­ing to attack a polling site dur­ing the Sept. 18 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions. He orches­trat­ed attacks on Afghans who opposed his tac­tics, con­duct­ed ille­gal check­points intend­ed to intim­i­date local Afghans, and kid­napped wealthy peo­ple to finance his activ­i­ties. He was respon­si­ble for an attack on the Shi­gal dis­trict cen­ter and also is sus­pect­ed of hav­ing ties with a June 21 sui­cide bomb­ing in the dis­trict that injured eight Afghan chil­dren. He also is believed respon­si­ble for a June 7 road­side-bomb attack that killed five U.S. sol­diers.

In Kun­duz province:

-– A com­bined force detained two Tal­iban insur­gents and killed five oth­ers yes­ter­day while pur­su­ing a Tal­iban sub­com­man­der in the Ali­abad dis­trict. Sev­er­al armed insur­gents ran from the tar­get­ed build­ing fir­ing at the secu­ri­ty force, which react­ed by engag­ing the insur­gents from the ground and from coali­tion air­craft. Five insur­gents were killed. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents of the tar­get­ed com­pound, the force detained two insur­gents.

— A com­bined force killed at least four insur­gents and detained one dur­ing a Sept. 17 oper­a­tion. The force was in pur­suit of a Tal­iban com­man­der respon­si­ble for an ear­ly Sep­tem­ber remote-con­trolled bomb attack on an Afghan police patrol, and a for­mer Tal­iban com­man­der who is a senior for­eign fight­er and weapons traf­fick­er. The tar­get­ed men, in con­cert with Tal­iban lead­ers in Pak­istan, coor­di­nate logis­ti­cal sup­port and attacks in the Gor Tap­pa region. Insur­gents shot at the force through­out the oper­a­tion, and the com­bined ground force and coali­tion air­craft returned fire. The force was unable to com­plete a full assess­ment of the areas, but con­firmed four insur­gents were killed. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents, the assault force detained one insur­gent.

In Log­ar province:

— A com­bined force in the Pul-e Alam dis­trict cap­tured a Tal­iban sub­com­man­der yes­ter­day who was want­ed for bomb­ing attacks.

In Nan­garhar province:

— Com­bined forces killed sev­er­al insur­gents, includ­ing Sayed Karim, a Tal­iban sub­com­man­der oper­at­ing in the Khugyani dis­trict, on Sept. 18. Karim planned attacks, and led at least 15 insur­gent fight­ers. As the force moved toward the tar­get­ed com­pound, insur­gents it was met with small-arms fire from an open field and a near­by tree line. The assault force returned fire, killing two insur­gents. As the fire­fight con­tin­ued, coali­tion forces con­duct­ed an air strike on the tree line, killing anoth­er insur­gent. They found mul­ti­ple weapons and ammu­ni­tion vests with the insur­gents. While clear­ing the com­pound, the secu­ri­ty force encoun­tered armed insur­gents bar­ri­cad­ing them­selves in one of the build­ings. The force killed four insur­gents, one in the pri­ma­ry com­pound and three oth­ers in two adja­cent com­pounds. When the area was secure, the assault force ques­tioned all the peo­ple at the scene and detained one insur­gent.

In Pak­tia province:

— Coali­tion forces con­duct­ed a pre­ci­sion air strike yes­ter­day, killing Abdul Jabar, a Haqqani net­work sub­com­man­der who report­ed­ly con­duct­ed bomb­ing attacks against civil­ians dur­ing the Sept. 18 elec­tions. Act­ing on intel­li­gence tips, coali­tion forces tracked him to a remote area in the Sayyid Karam dis­trict. The strike took place only after coali­tion forces iden­ti­fied insur­gent activ­i­ty and con­duct­ed care­ful plan­ning to ensure no civil­ians were present. An aer­i­al assess­ment con­firmed Abdul Jabar was killed in the strike.

ISAF offi­cials con­firmed Janut Gul, a Haqqani facil­i­ta­tor who was plan­ning vehi­cle-borne bomb­ing attacks dur­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, was killed Sept. 18 by a pre­ci­sion air strike. Act­ing on intel­li­gence tips, coali­tion forces tracked him from a com­pound to an open area in the Sayyid Karam dis­trict. After care­ful plan­ning to ensure no civil­ians were present, coali­tion air­craft con­duct­ed a pre­ci­sion air strike against him. Although a ground force was unable to con­duct an imme­di­ate assess­ment of the engage­ment area, ISAF offi­cials con­firmed the facil­i­ta­tor and three of his asso­ciates were killed.

In Pak­ti­ka province:

ISAF offi­cials today con­firmed the Sept. 18 cap­ture of a Tal­iban road­side-bomb cell leader oper­at­ing in the Yosuf Khel dis­trict. The facil­i­ta­tor pro­vid­ed bombs and tech­ni­cal advice to area insur­gents. The secu­ri­ty force also found weapons at the scene.

In all oper­a­tions where women and chil­dren were present, Afghan and coali­tion forces pro­tect­ed them and ensured inno­cent civil­ians were not present before open­ing fire, offi­cials said.

In oth­er news from Afghanistan, an ISAF vehi­cle struck and killed a local Afghan woman yes­ter­day dur­ing a secu­ri­ty patrol in the Alis­hang dis­trict of Lagh­man province. Ini­tial reports indi­cate that the woman was struck as she was get­ting out of her vehi­cle. The woman’s child also was injured, was tak­en to a near­by hos­pi­tal, and was report­ed to be in sta­ble con­di­tion. The inci­dent is under inves­ti­ga­tion.

Also, four Afghans were wound­ed when they were struck by a road­side bomb in the Dara Noor dis­trict of Nan­garhar province Sept. 18. An ISAF medic treat­ed the wound­ed civil­ians.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es

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