Saturday, April 18, 2009

OEF Summary, April 18, 2009: Troops in Afghanistan Kill Unknown Number of Militants, Nab Suspect

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 18, 2009 -- Afghan and coalition forces today killed an unknown number of militants and detained one suspect during an early morning operation to capture a senior Taliban commander known to operate throughout northern Kandahar province.

In Maywand district, approximately 60 km northwest of Kandahar, forces conducted an attack on multiple compounds to locate and capture a militant closely associated with the anti-Afghan forces leadership in Pakistan. In an isolated area of Maywand district, Afghan and coalition forces carried out an assault that turned deadly for militants who engaged the assault force.

Shortly after arriving at their primary target area, the force was engaged by several militants hiding in an underground bunker that appear to be an abandoned well. Afghan forces attempted to secure the surrender of the militants by calling for them to come out peacefully, but they refused to comply. Despite an escalation by the assault force, the militants remained barricaded. On two attempts to clear the structure, the assault force was engaged by the armed militants. Assessing that all non-lethal options were exhausted and that no civilians would be endangered, the commander of the force called for close air support to end the engagement. Coalition forces dropped precision munitions on the bunker that held the barricaded militants with no collateral damage. Due to structural instability of the bunker, the force was unable to verify the number of militants killed, but assessed that at least two armed combatants had engaged the force during the clash.

At compounds located a short distance from the barricaded militants, a combined force conducted a concurrent operation. Afghan forces called for civilians to exit their buildings and all complied.

With residents moved to safety, Afghan and coalition forces searched multiple buildings and compounds without incident, detaining one suspected militant and protecting 19 men, 18 women and 21 children.

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

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