Tuesday, March 31, 2009

OEF Summary, March 31, 2009: 1 Killed, 12 Detained in Afghanistan Operations

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, March 31, 2009 -- Afghan and coalition forces killed one person and detained four known militants and eight suspected militants during pre-dawn operations in Afghanistan’s Khowst province today.

In the Besmil district, a combined assault force targeted a compound housing a militant with the Islamic Jihad Union, a group known to traffic foreign fighters through the Khowst-Gardez pass.

When the assault force arrived at the targeted compound, they called for occupants to peacefully exit. Twelve men and 14 children followed the forces’ directives and left the building. One person did not comply, and Afghan and coalition forces again instructed him to come out. When he proceeded toward the force, he appeared to quickly reach for something, and his sudden movement was perceived as hostile. The force killed him with small-arms fire.

Following the incident, forces uncovered identification documents that revealed the non-compliant male was 15 years old. The elder on the compound confirmed his identity and accepted money from the force to pay for his funeral.

“We are saddened an Afghan youth was killed during this operation and regret he did not comply with Afghan and coalition forces’ directives,” said Army Lt. Col. Rick Helmer, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman. “However, we remain steadfast in our commitment to working with Afghan partner forces to root out militants who seek to destabilize Afghanistan and prevent regional peace and prosperity.”

The targeted militant and three suspects were detained without further incident.

In separate operations in Khowst’s Sabari district, Afghan and coalition forces conducted operations to disrupt Haqqani network bomb-making cells. Three known militants and five suspects were detained with no shots fired. A search of one compound revealed blasting caps, a loaded machine gun and grenades, which were subsequently destroyed a safe distance from the compound. Fourteen women and 45 children were protected.

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

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