ISAF, Karzai Condemn Insurgent Bomb Attack

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2011 — A spokesman for the NATO-led Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force today joined Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai in con­demn­ing the killing of more than a dozen Afghan civil­ians, includ­ing women and chil­dren, in a road­side-bomb attack in Afghanistan’s Pak­ti­ka province today.

Reports indi­cate a civil­ian vehi­cle struck an insur­gent-plant­ed bomb, killing at least 13 civil­ians in the province’s Khoshamand district. 

“We join Pres­i­dent Karzai in con­demn­ing the despi­ca­ble mur­der of these inno­cent Afghan civil­ians,” said Navy Rear Adm. Vic Beck. “From the fam­i­lies who have lost loved ones to the com­mu­ni­ties they call home, every loss of inno­cent life, espe­cial­ly the loss of chil­dren, is incred­i­bly painful. Our thoughts are with those griev­ing, and we will con­tin­ue work with the Afghan gov­ern­ment in bring­ing those respon­si­ble to justice.” 

Mean­while, ISAF Joint Com­mand offi­cials pro­vid­ed details of recent operations: 

— Coali­tion forces con­duct­ed a pre­ci­sion airstrike on a Tal­iban com­mand-and-con­trol fight­ing posi­tion today after a part­nered coali­tion and Afghan secu­ri­ty force in Faryab province’s Qais­ar dis­trict came under heavy machine-gun fire. The secu­ri­ty force is assess­ing the results of the strike, offi­cials said, empha­siz­ing that the strike took place only after con­fir­ma­tion that no civil­ians were present and no oth­er means exist­ed to counter the threat. 

— Afghan and coali­tion forces detained a Tal­iban leader respon­si­ble for road­side-bomb attacks against Afghan forces in Kan­da­har province yes­ter­day. He oper­at­ed in the Mai­wand dis­trict and was in direct con­tact with oth­er Tal­iban insur­gents in the area, offi­cials said, and planned to attack Afghan gov­ern­ment offi­cials. Two oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents were detained in the operation. 

— Afghan and coali­tion forces detained a Haqqani ter­ror­ist net­work leader, along with sev­er­al oth­er, sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Khost province’s Man­duzai dis­trict yes­ter­day. Recent reports indi­cate he and oth­er Haqqani insur­gents were gath­er­ing mate­ri­als for an attack on Afghan army vehi­cles, offi­cials said. The secu­ri­ty force recov­ered rifles, a pis­tol, a grenade, a chest rack, bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als and ammunition. 

— Also yes­ter­day, Afghan and coali­tion forces detained a Tal­iban leader, along with sev­er­al oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents, in Pak­tia province’s Gardez dis­trict. The Tal­iban leader and his group are respon­si­ble for plant­i­ng road­side bombs tar­get­ing coali­tion forces and for plan­ning assas­si­na­tions of local gov­ern­ment offi­cials, and is close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Tal­iban lead­ers in the area, offi­cials said. 

— Afghan and coali­tion forces detained a Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tor, along with sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents, in Farah province’s Bala Boluk dis­trict yes­ter­day. The facil­i­ta­tor recent­ly was involved with pro­vid­ing rock­ets, ammu­ni­tion and bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als to Tal­iban insur­gents for attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces, offi­cials said, and also plant­ed road­side bombs. 

— Afghan and coali­tion forces seek­ing a Tal­iban leader detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents and killed an armed attack­er yes­ter­day in Pak­tia province’s Gardez dis­trict. As the secu­ri­ty force approached the tar­get­ed com­pound, they saw two armed insur­gents run­ning into a mosque. Afghan forces called for the mosque’s occu­pants to come out peace­ful­ly. One armed insur­gent came out and was detained. The sec­ond armed insur­gent fired at the secu­ri­ty force. After sev­er­al attempts to get him to sur­ren­der, Afghan forces entered the mosque and killed him. The secu­ri­ty force recov­ered an assault rifle, a sniper rifle and ammunition. 

— In Kan­da­har province’s Zharay dis­trict, Afghan and coali­tion forces tar­get­ing a Tal­iban leader who is con­nect­ed to a Dec. 17 indi­rect-fire attack on For­ward Oper­at­ing Base Wil­son detained a sus­pect­ed insur­gent. The want­ed Tal­iban leader is respon­si­ble for move­ment of sup­plies and facil­i­ta­tion of sui­cide-bomb-attack mate­ri­als and is asso­ci­at­ed with Tal­iban lead­er­ship in the province, offi­cials said. He also received numer­ous sui­cide-vest bombs from a fel­low Tal­iban leader, they added. 

In oth­er news, ISAF offi­cials con­firmed a Tal­iban leader was detained dur­ing a com­bined Afghan and coali­tion forces oper­a­tion in Pak­tia province Jan. 17. The detained Tal­iban leader was involved in road­side-bomb attacks on coali­tion forces in the province’s Gardez dis­trict and was also asso­ci­at­ed with oth­er Tal­iban lead­ers in the province, offi­cials said. Also, Afghan sol­diers and ISAF mem­bers from 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 9th Marine Reg­i­ment, launched Oper­a­tion Integri­ty on Jan. 15. 

The goals of the oper­a­tion were to cor­don off a sus­pect­ed hotspot for Tal­iban activ­i­ty, search for weapon and impro­vised explo­sive device caches, dis­rupt ene­my logis­ti­cal oper­a­tions and gath­er cen­sus data in the region, offi­cials said. 

“Our pri­ma­ry task is to dis­rupt Tal­iban activ­i­ty by search­ing sus­pect­ed bed-down loca­tions and pos­si­ble weapons caches,” said Marine Corps Capt. Ronald Diefen­bach, com­man­der of the battalion’s weapons com­pa­ny. “Even if no insur­gents or weapons are cap­tured, we’ll keep the ene­my on his toes and have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with the local pop­u­la­tion on a num­ber of issues.” 

The Afghan army took the lead in the oper­a­tion, he noted. 

“They were the ones deal­ing with the local cit­i­zens, pri­mar­i­ly,” Diefen­bach con­tin­ued, “and get­ting a feel for the local pop­u­lace, since they are the future of Afghan secu­ri­ty.” After search­ing sev­er­al com­pounds and talk­ing to local res­i­dents, Diefen­bach said, he noticed the major­i­ty of the vil­lagers had no prob­lem talk­ing about the Tal­iban. Most of the Tal­iban had left the area, he added, and known hid­ing spots for insur­gent con­tra­band turned up empty. 

Diefen­bach sug­gest­ed that local Afghans have been more will­ing to coop­er­ate after see­ing the effec­tive­ness of recent coali­tion oper­a­tions that brought numer­ous Tal­iban fight­ers and com­man­ders into custody. 

“Their will­ing­ness to speak out has to do with the increase in secu­ri­ty,” he said. “If you’re not wor­ried about some­one threat­en­ing your fam­i­ly, you’re more like­ly to pro­vide infor­ma­tion and side with the government.” 

Marine Cpl. Nicholas Kovarik, an intel­li­gence ana­lyst, said the com­bined forces searched more than 200 com­pounds and gath­ered cen­sus infor­ma­tion on near­ly 300 peo­ple. “Over­all, from start to fin­ish every­thing was a suc­cess,” Quinn said. “We man­aged to col­lect a lot of cen­sus data and a lot of intel­li­gence that is going to help us and oth­er units in the future.” 

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releases 

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