Friday, December 25, 2009

OEF Update, Dec. 25, 2009: Forces in Afghanistan Kill, Detain Militants

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2009 -- An Afghan-international security force detained several suspected militants while searching for a Taliban enabler in Wardak province today.

The joint security force searched a compound east of the village of Naskak in the Chak-e-Wardak district after intelligence assets pin-pointed militant activity nearby and detained the militants.

In an operation in Paktika, a joint security force killed a few armed militants and captured a small group of insurgents while searching for a Haqqani commander.

The Afghan-international security force moved to two compounds west of the town of Chowray, in the Deela district after intelligence confirmed Haqqani militant activities there. During the subsequent search, the security force captured several more militants and recovered weapons and IED components.

In other operations yesterday, ISAF forces in southern Afghanistan detained almost a dozen insurgents for possible connection to the manufacturing of IEDs. One of the insurgents was in the immediate proximity to a transmitter used to detonate a remote-controlled IED.

Patrolling service members in the south also found approximately 600 pounds of what is believed to be ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient of homemade explosives and they also found a Russian anti-tank mine. Lastly, a local resident led troops to an IED that had been placed under a bridge.

No civilians were harmed in any of these operations.

Kunar’s First Midwifery Program Dedicated:

The Kunar provincial governor, national government leaders and the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team dedicated the province’s first midwifery training center in Asadabad, Dec. 22, to decrease Afghan maternal and infant mortality rates.

"I’m sure this will reduce the mortality rates in the province. We have fewer facilities than in other provinces, so we are thankful for the ministry of public health and our international partners for working together to make this happen," said Fazlullah Wahidi, provincial governor. "This is directly for the benefit of the women of Kunar. For the sustainability of the program, we need private organizations and (international partners) to continue to support these projects."

Along with the ribbon cutting, there was a ceremony recognizing 24 women from around the province currently enrolled in the first midwife program. The women were selected from 42 candidates to attend the 18-month long course to learn prenatal and postpartum care for expectant mothers and their babies.

"In 2004, there were only 150 deliveries per year because people didn’t have access to services," said Dr. Isanullah Faxli, Asadabad hospital administrator. "Now we have 350 deliveries per month in Asadabad alone. That is because people trust there is a hospital and staff here to help them."

According to Navy Lt. Jed Juachon, PRT medical officer, because there is a lack of obstetricians in Kunar, the midwife program is essential for handling basic prenatal care, birthing and postpartum care.

"A problem in Kunar is a high maternal and infant mortality rate, which is preventable with early treatment and care that can be provided by these midwives," Juachon said. "The PRT provided modules to help train the students, which included human models and charts."

According to Dr. Mohammed Asif, midwifery program director, the women started the course in September and will go back to their districts when done with the training. Asif said the current program is only funded for this first course, but the provincial government is looking for more donors and assistance to extend the course beyond the initial cadre.

ISAF Casualties:

There were no ISAF fatalities in the last 24 hours in Afghanistan.

(Compiled from NATO International Security Assistance Force news releases.)

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