Wednesday, February 18, 2009

OEF Summary, Feb. 18, 2009: Troops Maintain Pressure in Eastern Afghanistan

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 18, 2009 -- Coalition Forces today detained one suspected militant during operations in Kapisa province.

Coalition Forces conducted operations in Tagab District, Kapisa province, approximately 50 km northeast of Kabul, to disrupt Taliban and foreign facilitation networks operating in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan.

When Coalition Forces arrived at the targeted compounds, they called out to have non-combatants peacefully exit the buildings. The non-combatants exited the buildings without incident.

With the cooperation of the non-combatants, no shots were fired. During the operation, one individual was detained, and 11 women and 13 children were protected.

In other news today, a combined Coalition and Afghan investigation team along with international observers visited with key leaders in Gozara district, Herat province, as a part of the post operation strike investigation related to the targeting of an insurgent leader in the province. The team is conducting an investigation to gather facts regarding any additional casualties at the site.

Coalition forces and Afghan National Army soldiers had inspected the site Tuesday and recovered weapons and ammunition while the ANA conducted a shura with local leaders.

The insurgent, who was affiliated with Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin and the Taliban, is responsible for a terror campaign throughout Herat using kidnapping and murder to brutalize Afghan civilians and village elders.

"We take all reports of non-combatant casualties very seriously and investigate these claims with the assistance of our Afghan forces counterparts," said Lt. Col. Rick Helmer, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesperson.

"If, during the course of investigation, it is discovered that any non-combatants were killed or injured in the strike we will take responsibility and make amends. However, it has been a past practice of the insurgents to surround themselves with women and children knowingly placing them in danger," said Helmer.

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

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