Friday, December 26, 2008

Troops Destroy Taliban Roadside Bomb Cell in Kandahar

Rocket-propelled grenades (inside the tubes). (Photographer: U.S. Forces Afghanistan.)

Hand grenades, spools of wire used for making improvised explosive devices. (Photographer: U.S. Forces Afghanistan.)

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 26, 2008 -- Coalition forces killed eleven armed Taliban militants, including a key improvised explosive device cell leader, and detained two suspected militants during an operation targeting a major roadside bomb network in Kandahar province, Dec. 25.

In Maiwand District, approximately 75 km west of Kandahar City, coalition forces targeted a Taliban network responsible for multiple roadside bomb attacks including recent attacks which killed multiple International Security Assistance Forces soldiers.

During the operation, coalition forces called for all individuals inside the compounds to surrender and exit peacefully. Disregarding these instructions, militants barricaded inside the compounds opened fire on the force using PKM machine guns and AK-47s. Despite taking heavy enemy fire, coalition forces held their fire to allow the women and children to exit the compounds unharmed, and then moved them safely to another location.

Moving under enemy fire, coalition forces engaged the barricaded militants with small-arms fire and hand grenades. After neutralizing the threat, the force searched the buildings discovering eleven militants were killed. One female who remained inside the building, sustained fragmentation wounds to her leg.

Medical personnel on site provided immediate care to the wounded female and evacuated her to a coalition forces’ hospital for further care. Respecting cultural sensitivities, the force allowed a male from the village to accompany her to the hospital. She is in stable condition and expected to fully recover.

During the search, coalition forces found dozens of landmines, grenades (at least 15 rocket-propelled grenades), several PKM machine guns, multiple AK-47s, and bomb making materials hidden in the compounds. Coalition forces destroyed these items to prevent their future use. The building was destroyed by secondary blasts from the landmines.

“No martyrs here, just militants who put down roadside bombs that kill innocent Afghans and then hide among civilians putting them at even greater risk,” said Col Jerry O’Hara, a U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesperson. “Coalition forces take on extraordinary steps, even giving up the element of surprise to ensure only militants were engaged.”

(Report from a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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