WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2011 — Afghan President Hamid Karzai, his government’s interior ministry and the International Security Assistance Force jointly condemned today’s improvised explosive device attack that reportedly killed numerous civilians and wounded many others in the Tark Abad district of Afghanistan’s Herat province, military officials reported.
Initial reports indicate 24 Afghans were killed and 11 others were wounded when IEDs struck two separate vehicles. Among the dead are children and five women. Afghan officials said the Taliban were behind the attacks.
“Insurgents plan attacks such as these without regard for the civilians they kill, looking for the attention of the media,” said Navy Rear Adm. Hal Pittman, an ISAF spokesman. “The Afghan people see the selfish destruction the insurgents bring. ISAF joins President Karzai and [the interior ministry] in condemning this atrocity.”
In other Afghanistan news, Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, issued a statement today in which he wished the Afghan people a joyous Independence Day holiday.
Allen’s statement reads:
“To the honorable people of Afghanistan — Salam-u-Alaikum! On behalf of all the members of the NATO International Security Assistance Force, I would like to wish you a joyous celebration during the Afghanistan Independence Day holiday. On this occasion, I express my heartfelt appreciation to all Afghans faithfully serving their country, whether in government, as members of the Afghan National Security Force, or as peace-loving civilians.
“For ten years, ISAF and its members have been working with our Afghan brothers and sisters to build a stronger, freer, and safer Afghanistan. Together, we have crippled the al-Qaida terrorist organization in the region and worked tirelessly to weaken the insurgency. Together, we continue to promote the conditions necessary for a stable and free Afghanistan. And together, we will ensure a prosperous future for the people of Afghanistan.
“Earlier this year, ever-strengthening Afghan National Security Forces began assuming primary security responsibility from ISAF forces in several areas throughout the country. These Afghan forces will continue to grow in both quantity and quality, so that in the near future, they will be trained, equipped, and capable of independently defeating the insurgents wherever they may try to hide.
“I, along with every member of my command, am proud of the progress being made, Shohna ba Shohna with our Afghan partners. I look forward to the continued progress that will be made through 2014 and beyond, as the nations of ISAF remain forever faithful hamkar to the Afghan people, and we will continue to support a free and stable Afghanistan.
“We are bound together in our efforts and sacrifices, and we will continue to work toward a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. That bond will remain strong long after we’ve prevailed over the insurgency, and will ensure Afghanistan is a country where its people can have faith in their government and live without the fear of violence. With courage and honor, together we will prevail.”
In Afghanistan operations yesterday:
— A combined Afghan and coalition force killed numerous insurgents and detained two others during a security operation in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar province. The security force was searching for a Hezb‑e Islami Gulbuddin terrorist organization leader when they observed several groups of heavily armed insurgents. A firefight ensued when the insurgents, armed with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and assault rifles, attacked the security force. The target of the operation was an insurgent leader who directs a group of Hezb‑e Islami Gulbuddin and Taliban fighters in the district. He also plans and conducts ambush and roadside-bomb attacks against Afghan forces.
— In the Ghormach district of Faryab province, a combined force killed two insurgents and detained a suspect while searching for a senior Taliban leader. The leader is the Taliban-appointed deputy governing official for insurgent operations in the Shirin Tagab district, and is responsible for roadside-bomb and rocket attacks against Afghan forces.
— A combined force detained a Taliban leader and a suspected insurgent in the Qalat district of Zabul province. The leader was responsible for roadside-bomb attacks against Afghan security forces patrolling the Tarnak Wa Jaldak and Qalat districts.
— In the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, a combined force detained a suspect during an operation targeting a Taliban leader who conducts intimidation operations against Afghan civilians and coordinates attacks against Afghan forces.
— Also in Kandahar province, a combined force detained numerous suspected members of the Taliban during a security operation in the Panjwai district. The target of this operation is a Taliban leader who directs several lower-ranking leaders and fighters in the area.
— A combined Afghan and coalition force detained several suspects in the Nahr‑e Saraj district of Helmand province. The force conducted the operation to disrupt a Taliban cell responsible for running a prison operation in the area.
— A combined force killed two insurgents and detained several suspects during a security operation in the Pul‑e Alam district of Logar province. The force was searching for a Taliban leader who coordinates and plans attacks against Afghan security forces. The combined force confiscated rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles, several other grenades and chest racks.
— A combined force detained several suspects during a search for a Taliban leader in Ghazni city, Ghazni province. The leader manages fighters, facilitates roadside bomb operations and coordinates attacks with other Taliban leaders and facilitators.
In Aug. 17 operations:
— A combined force found and safely destroyed an explosives cache in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province. The cache contained 9,149 pounds of ammonium nitrate and 3,858 pounds of homemade explosives.
In Aug. 16 operations:
— A combined Afghan and coalition operation resulted in the detention of a key roadside-bomb facilitator and several other suspected insurgents in the Kabul district of Kabul province.
— In the Now Zad district of Helmand province, a combined patrol detained numerous suspects during an operation targeting a Taliban leader who is responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases