Sunday, February 1, 2009

OEF Summary, Feb. 1, 2009: Troops in Afghanistan Maintain Pressure on Terrorist Networks

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 1, 2009 -- Coalition forces killed two militants and detained nine suspects during military operations targeting the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist networks in eastern and southern Afghanistan, Jan. 31.

In Ghazni province, coalition forces searched a compound near Daya Kheyl, located approximately 180 kilometers southwest of Kabul, for an individual known to facilitate mines, weapons and money in southern Ghazni, as well as having strong ties to the Haqqani terrorist network.

Upon arrival at the intended compound, coalition forces called out for the inhabitants to exit all buildings. In one building, several persons barricaded themselves inside. After repeated instructions were given and other women and children exited the buildings, coalition forces proceeded with a forced entry and killed two militants. A third person inside the building, a non-combatant, received a minor injury. The person was treated by medical personnel on site and given compensation for any potential follow-on treatment that may be required. Three suspected militants were detained, while protecting 15 women and 25 children during the operation.

In Khowst, coalition forces detained six suspected militants during operations conducted to apprehend a leader of a Sabari-based improvised explosive device cell also linked to the Haqqani terrorist network.

When coalition forces arrived at the compound, they called out for civilians to exit the buildings and all cooperated. The willingness of the civilians to follow the coalition forces’ instructions facilitated a smooth process resulting in no shots fired, no persons injured and no property damaged. Six women and 16 children were protected during this operation.

In other news, one Afghan was killed and another injured in an escalation-of-force incident Jan. 31 in the Orgun District of Paktika province.

A combined Afghan and International Security Assistance Force convoy carrying district officials was travelling in the area when a civilian vehicle attempted to approach the convoy. The patrol signalled to the vehicle to stop by using non-lethal means. The vehicle did not react to the warnings and a single warning shot was fired, injuring the occupants.

The patrol stopped immediately to provide medical assistance and the two casualties were evacuated to an ISAF hospital in the Orgun District. Unfortunately, one of the vehicle’s occupants later died of his wound.

The Afghan who was killed was identified as a tribal leader from east Paktika province. ISAF officials contacted the provincial leadership to inform them of the incident.

“This was a very unfortunate incident, and on behalf of all the members of ISAF, we offer our sympathy and condolences to the families of the casualties,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Blanchette, ISAF spokesperson. “ISAF takes every precaution to make our convoys as visible as possible to the Afghan people with whom we share the roads.”

In an official statement, ISAF said it deeply regrets incidents where innocent civilians are harmed by its actions.

(From U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and IASF Public Affairs news releases.)

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