Saturday, January 24, 2009

OEF Summary, Jan. 24, 2009: Troops Continue to Disrupt Terrorist Network in Laghman

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 24, 2009 -- Coalition forces killed 15 armed militants and detained one suspected militant during an operation to disrupt the Taliban's terrorist network in Laghman province, Jan. 23.

The operation in Mehtar Lam District, approximately 60 km northeast of Kabul City, targeted a Taliban commander believed to conduct terrorist activities throughout the Kabul, Laghman and Kapisa provinces; killing and injuring innocent civilians and coalition forces while bringing insecurity to the region. Taking orders from senior Taliban leaders, both in Afghanistan and abroad, the targeted Taliban commander is known to traffic foreign fighters and weapons into the region in order to conduct attacks against coalition forces, including the August 2008 attack in which French soldiers were killed.

As coalition forces approached the wanted militant's compound, several groups of armed militants exited their homes and began maneuvering on the force. Armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, the militants engaged coalition forces from multiple directions. Coalition forces returned fire engaging the militants with small-arms fire, killing nine militants and, where it presented no danger to innocent civilians, precision close-air support, killing four militants.

After neutralizing the threat presented by the armed militants, coalition forces continued the operation and searched multiple compounds. During the search, the force was again engaged by armed militants inside the buildings. Coalition forces engaged the militants with small-arms fire, and killed two militants.

During the search, coalition forces identified one of the 13 militants killed in the initial firefight as a female. She was killed while maneuvering on coalition forces and was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade.

During the search of the compounds, coalition forces discovered 10 AK-47s, four rocket-propelled grenades, multiple rocket-propelled grenade rounds, a hand grenade, bandoliers of ammunitions and other military equipment. These items were destroyed to prevent future use.

Also reported, an International Security Assistance Force serviceman was killed today in an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan.

“On behalf of all ISAF personnel, our deepest sympathies go out to the serviceman's family and friends as they deal with their loss. Our hearts are with them as they face this most difficult time,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Blanchette, ISAF spokesperson.

“ISAF is committed to helping build a safe and stable Afghanistan, the cause for which this serviceman fought.”

It is ISAF policy not to release the nationality of any casualty prior to the relevant national authority doing so.

In related news, insurgents launched several rockets toward an International Security Assistance Force base in north-eastern Afghanistan Jan. 23, killing an Afghan girl and injuring two other Afghan girls when the rockets fell short and impacted the home of Afghan citizens.

One of the injured was moved by local ambulance to Jalalabad Hospital and the other remains at her home with minor injuries.

The insurgent attack occurred yesterday near Asadabad in the Konar province. The incident resulted in no ISAF casualties or damage to the base.

“Yet again, this shows the insurgents’ complete disregard for innocent Afghan civilians,” said Brigadier General Richard Blanchette, ISAF Spokesperson. “ISAF, in support of Afghan security forces, will continue to root out this insurgency which threatens innocent Afghan children.”

(From U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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