Friday, March 20, 2009

OEF Summary, March 20, 2009: Troops in Afghanistan Kill 36 Militants, Detain Suspects

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2009 -- Afghan and coalition forces killed 36 enemy fighters and detained eight suspects in operations in Afghanistan today and yesterday, military officials reported.

In operations today:
  • Afghan forces, with a small contingent of coalition forces, killed a man who engaged them during the clearance portion of an operation in the Marah Warah district of Konar province. The operation’s goal was to disrupt bombing and foreign-fighter networks near Afghanistan’s eastern border. Three suspected militants were detained. The force destroyed weapons and bomb-making materials found at the site and protected six women and six children during the operation.

  • Afghan and coalition forces killed three militants and detained one suspect during an operation targeting mid- and high-level members of a Kabul-based bomb-making cell operating in Lowgar province. In the province’s Baraki Barak district, the combined force assaulted a compound where militants were reported to be staying. The force called for noncombatants to come out of the buildings, and women and children were moved to safety. During a search, an armed man hiding behind livestock was killed. Forces pursued two militants seen moving from the roof of a building on to an adjacent compound and called for their surrender. The militants barricaded themselves inside a building, and the force engaged and killed them. Seven women and 14 children were protected.

In operations yesterday:
  • Afghan soldiers advised by coalition forces killed 30 armed militants in Helmand province’s Gereshk district. Numerous armed militants engaged an Afghan-led reconnaissance patrol with heavy small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The combined force moved forward, and a firefight ensued when militants re-engaged the patrol with small-arms and RPG fire. After positively identifying the enemy fighting position and assuring there were no noncombatants in the area, the combined forces returned fire with small-arms and close-air support, killing 30 militants. An Afghan soldier suffered minor injuries during the engagement and was treated at a nearby coalition medical facility.

  • Afghan forces, with a small contingent of coalition forces, conducted operations in the Bati Kowt district of Nangarhar province to disable an al-Qaida cell that facilitates suicide bombers and plans roadside-bomb attacks. Two armed militants engaged the force and were killed, and four suspected militants were detained. The force found two AK-47 assault rifles, a Marakov pistol and a vehicle that had been altered to be used as a bomb. The vehicle was removed from the compound. The forces also found about 15 pounds of opium, which they destroyed on site, and protected 11 women and 36 children during the operation.

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

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