OEF Update, Oct. 9, 2009: Joint Operation in Herat; Forces Kill, Detain Militants; Force Repositioning; ISAF Casualty
Dispatches from the Front:
KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 9, 2009 -- A joint Afghan and international security force conducted an operation overnight to search a compound known to be used by an insurgent leader in Guzara district, Herat province.
The insurgent leader is known to be responsible for conducting roadside bomb attacks against International Security Assistance Force and Afghan forces in the area and kidnapping Afghan civilians.
As the joint force approached the area where intelligence indicated the insurgent leader's presence, a large group of insurgents engaged the force with intense small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. Attack helicopters supporting the joint force engaged the group of militants, killing a number of them.
During a search of the compound, the force discovered RPGs, machine guns, ammunition, grenades and chest racks. All weapons and ammunition were destroyed in place.
No international security forces or Afghan forces were killed during the engagement, and the international and Afghan forces do not believe any civilians were injured in this operation.
Militants Killed, Detained
Afghan and International security forces killed and detained several suspected militants in two operations in Wardak and Kandahar provinces today.
A joint security force searched a compound in Chaki Wardak district known to be used by a Taliban enabler and his element responsible for the planning and executing several attacks in the region.
During the operation suspected enemy militants fired at the joint force from one of the buildings. The joint force returned fire. The force then issued several verbal commands to the militants to exit the building, but the militants, posing a hostile threat, remained non-compliant. The joint force entered the building and killed several militants.
A search of the building uncovered the following items: RPG launchers, RPG rockets, machine guns, AK-47 rifles, several fragmentation grenades, a cache of ammunition and communications equipment. All weapons and ammunition were destroyed in place.
In another operation today a joint security force detained several suspected militants after searching a hotel in Kandahar City without incident. The hotel is known to be used by a Taliban facilitator and his element responsible for recruiting, training and deploying suicide bombers against Afghan civilians and infrastructure in the region.
No Afghan civilians were harmed during these operations.
Force Repositioning in Eastern Afghanistan
ISAF forces have completed their repositioning from two combat outposts (Combat Outposts Keating and Fritsche) in Kamdesh district, Nuristan province, to other areas in eastern Afghanistan.
The two outposts were attacked by militants on Oct. 3 from multiple firing positions in the steep valley. ISAF forces on the ground assisted by close air support and attack helicopters fought the militants ultimately securing the outposts and killing an estimated 100 insurgents during the battle.
Despite Taliban claims, the movement of troops and equipment from the outposts are a part of a previously scheduled transfer. The remote outposts were established as part of a previous security strategy to stop or prevent the flow of militants into the region.
In line with General Stanley McChrystal's counterinsurgency guidance to pursue a population-centric strategy, ISAF commanders decided last month to reposition forces from remote areas with smaller population densities to population centers within the region. Commanders developed plans for the repositioning; however, as in every conflict, plans' timelines may shift to accommodate conditions on the ground and developing security priorities.
Commanders have not discussed specific movements before their completion to ensure the security of ISAF and Afghan forces as well as Afghan civilians in affected areas.
One ISAF member died of wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device strike Oct. 8, in southern Afghanistan.
(Compiled from NATO International Security Assistance Force news releases.)