OEF Update, Dec. 29, 2009: Forces Nab Taliban Commanders, Militants; UK Casualty
Dispatches from the Front:
KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 29, 2009 -- Afghan-international security forces captured Taliban commanders and several militants in Kandahar and Khowst last night.
A Taliban commander responsible for several IED attacks was captured during a series of raids in Kandahar. Three other suspected militants were detained.
In a separate operation in Kanadahar, an Afghan-international security force captured a Taliban commander and a small group of militants responsible for supplying weapons to insurgents.
In a third operation, an Afghan-international security force detained suspected militants while searching for a Haqqani commander in Khowst.
The joint force went to a compound northwest of the village of Ya’qubi, in the Sabari district after intelligence sources found militant activity.
No Afghan civilians were harmed and no shots were fired in any of the operations.
In other operations yesterday, ISAF forces recovered about 1,200 pounds of opium after two people in a car stopped and fled from a vehicle checkpoint in southern Afghanistan. The opium was subsequently destroyed. Also in the south, ANA forces collected a weapons cache consisting of seven RPGs, two grenades and 800 rounds of ammunition. In a separate find, forces found a cache of two AK-47s and three magazines. In the east, ANSF forces discovered a backpack with half a liter of diesel fuel, a small propane tank, several feet of timed fuse, wire coils, 10 blasting caps, five hand grenades and three bags of ammonium nitrate.
PRT Provides Expertise to Construction Contractors, Workers:
Building a school for several hundred children or a footbridge to cross a rushing river requires the proper mixture of training and manpower.
The Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team engineers mentor contractors who bid on construction projects and train them to ensure the projects are completed to standard. The training helps ensure money being spent on building projects isn’t wasted because of poor construction practices.
On a visit to the Nowabad school construction project Dec. 26, Chief Petty Officer David Zahm, a Navy Builder, and Brandon Toliver, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative to Kunar PRT, met with the site foreman to discuss the progress of the project and offer critiques and support.
"It’s important to do the work right. You have to make sure you’re using good quality materials and the right construction practices," Zahm said. "You have to do things the right way."
The $219,000 project is just one example of ongoing efforts to improve the infrastructure in Kunar province. The school will house 20 of 26 classes currently taught to more than 2,000 area boys and girls, and it provides needed jobs to local laborers.
An ISAF servicemember from the United Kingdom died following an IED strike in southern Afghanistan yesterday.
(Compiled from NATO International Security Assistance Force news releases.)