Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Troops in Afghanistan Shut Down Bomb Network, Kill 32

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 7, 2009 -- Coalition forces killed 32 armed insurgents including one female, detained one suspected militant and destroyed two large caches of weapons, explosives and roadside bomb materials during an operation to disrupt the Taliban’s roadside bomb network in Laghman province, Jan. 6.

In Alishang District, approximately 100 km northeast of Kabul City, coalition forces targeted a Taliban roadside bomb cell responsible for numerous attacks throughout the region. The targeted Taliban network was involved in planning, building and emplacing roadside bombs as well as attacks against civilian and coalition forces throughout 2008.

During the operation, as many as 75 armed militants exited their compounds and attempted to converge on the force. Shooting from rooftops and alleyways, the militants engaged coalition forces with small-arms fire in the village. Despite the threat, coalition forces exercised great control of their fires and did not escalate the engagement with close-air support or artillery inside the village, choosing to fight through the skirmish with small-arms fire to minimize the potential for innocent causalities.

Maneuvering under enemy fire, coalition forces carefully escorted eight women and 16 children away from engagement and protected them from the reckless small-arms fire militants sprayed throughout the village.

As the firefight continued, coalition forces searched the targeted buildings looking for the wanted militant. The search yielded two large caches of weapons, explosives and other roadside bomb-making material to include: AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, PKM machine guns and many blocks of explosives bundled together.

Because of the unstable nature of these explosive munitions, coalition forces had no other option but to destroy the caches in place. After moving the women, children and locals living in surrounding structures to a safe location, coalition forces destroyed the cache. Secondary blasts from the unstable explosives destroyed the building they were hidden in.

“Coalition forces exercised great restraint and prevented any civilian casualties at the same time the enemy placed the whole village in harms way by operating the way they do,” said Col Jerry O’Hara, a U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesperson. “Removal of these militants and their weapon caches prevented countless roadside bombs while protecting more than 60,000 innocent Afghans of Alishang District from the Taliban’s indiscriminate killing.”

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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