Sunday, December 14, 2008

OEF Summary; Dec. 14, 2008: Troops in Afghanistan Kill, Capture Enemy Fighters, Seize Weapons

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2008 -- Coalition and Afghan forces killed at least two enemy fighters, detained 32 suspects and seized weapons in Afghanistan during operations last week, military officials said.

Coalition forces killed one militant and detained sixteen suspected militants during operations targeting a group known as Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, or HIG, and Taliban commanders in Kabul and Zabul provinces Dec. 12.

In Surobi District, some 30 km northeast of Kabul, coalition forces detained eight suspected militants, including a HIG commander, known for trafficking weapons and explosives into the Afghan capital and conducting attacks against civilians and security personnel.

Troops also discovered a weapons cache onsite that contained assault rifles, grenades and other military equipment.

“Afghans’ safety and security are at the forefront of every Coalition forces’ operation,” said Army Col. Jerry O’Hara, a U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman. “Destruction of weapons and explosives ensures militants are denied the use to cause further harm to innocent Afghan people and combined forces.”

In Zabul province’s Shah Joy District, about 140 km northeast of Kandahar, coalition forces killed one militant and detained eight suspected militants during an operation targeting both a Taliban commander and one of his militant fighters.

The targeted Taliban commander is known to coordinate and direct militant activities throughout the district, military officials said.

During the operation, one militant armed with an AK-47, grenades and other military equipment engaged the force. Troops retaliated, killing the enemy fighter, officials said.

In another engagement, Afghan national commandos and coalition forces detained a known bombing facilitator during a security patrol on Dec. 11 in the Boti Kot area of Nangahar Province.

The suspect, known as Attiqullah, tested positive for RDX, a common explosive used in improvised explosive devices, military officials said. A nomadic tribesman later confirmed his identity.

“(Afghan forces) continue to improve this country’s security by removing those people who facilitate the use of (makeshift bombs) from our society,” said General Azimi, the chief spokesman of the Afghan Ministry of Defense. “Our (forces) will continue to seek and capture the extremists that hurt the Afghan people.”

Coalition forces on a night-time reconnaissance patrol in the Deh Rawood district of Uruzgan Province came under attack from militants using small arms, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade fire Dec. 10.

Troops retaliated with small-arms fire and successfully thwarted the ambush.

Unconfirmed reports state that forces may have killed three noncombatants during the counterattack. Coalition forces reported the incident to local officials and were slated to discuss the issue with local tribal elders.

“We regret any loss of innocent life and express our condolences to their families,” O’Hara said. “Coalition forces work diligently to prevent any loss of life and take these matters seriously.”

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan Public Affairs news releases.)

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