Afghan, Coalition Forces Engage Enemy in East, South

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2010 - Afghan and coalition forces killed numerous insurgent fighters and seized weapons caches in eastern Afghanistan today, military officials reported.

Afghan and International Security Assistance Force troops were on patrol when they spotted insurgents carrying weapons in the Darah-ye Pech district of Kunar province. After gaining positive identification, the combined forces engaged the group, killing numerous insurgents.

Afghan and ISAF teams also destroyed several enemy weapons caches in the south and east. In Kandahar and Khost provinces, they found three weapons caches in the Panjwa'i, Bak and Terayzai districts. The caches consisted of three rocket-propelled grenades, four mortar rounds, several Chinese and Russian mortars, 100 AK-47 rounds, 25 grenades, 80 40 mm rounds and 10 blasting caps. In Uruzgan province, after retrieving an improvised explosive device, combined forces also found a weapons cache in the Chorah district consisting of 600 7.62 mm rounds, one .50 caliber, one artillery fuse and three rocket fuses.

Initial reports indicate no civilians were injured and no damage was reported during the clearing operations. All the weapons were confiscated and will be destroyed.

Also today, five Afghan civilians were wounded in an insurgent suicide attack in Kunduz City.

Afghan and ISAF forces responded to the scene of the blast to assist the wounded and investigate. A hand grenade was found in the area and will be disposed of by Afghan forces.

In operations yesterday, coalition forces conducted a precision air strike in Ghazni province targeting a Taliban IED cell. The air strike killed a man identified as Abdul Hai, the Taliban leader for the province's Andar district who was responsible for attacks against military forces there. He also was believed to be involved with the double suicide attack on an Afghan National Army bus in Kabul on Dec. 19, resulting in numerous soldiers being killed and injured.

Based on intelligence sources, coalition forces tracked the cell to an area in Waghaz district where the targeted men were seen carrying weapons and attempting to emplace an IED on the side of the road. After careful planning to protect civilians and property, coalition forces conducted the air strike. A follow-on force conducted a ground assessment and recovered 40 pounds of IED-making material, multiple AK-47s, a chest rack, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with multiple rounds and grenades. The ground force verified three insurgents were killed.

Following further intelligence sources, an Afghan and coalition force searched a compound in the Waghaz district where the remaining IED cell members were located. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully before the combined force cleared and secured the building. As they were doing so, they were threatened by an armed man whom they shot and killed.

After the area was secure, the security force conducted initial questioning at the scene before detaining two suspected insurgents. A large quantity of ammunition, as well as IED components, were found with the detainees.

No women or children were injured during the operation.

In other news from Afghanistan yesterday:

- A combined force killed several insurgents in the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province. The team was targeting a Taliban leader responsible for attacks against servicemembers there. As the combined patrol approached the targeted compound, they conducted a call-out to give the inhabitants a chance to exit safely. The inhabitants did not follow the instructions. As the force entered, they killed several men who attempted to engage them. During a search of the compound, the patrol discovered a number of 105 mm mortar shells and IED components. Numerous suspects were detained.

- Combined forces detained a Haqqani network leader who operates out of Khost's Sabari district, along with several suspected insurgents. The force followed intelligence tips to a compound to search for the leader. Afghan forces called for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully before the force cleared and secured the building. The security force conducted initial questioning at the scene before detaining the Haqqani leader and several men with an automatic weapon and a large quantity of ammunition.

- ISAF officials condemned the terrorist assassination of an Afghan district official and his son in Herat province's Shindand district. Mullah Ammanullah was the district shura chairman, and a prominent Shindand leader since the Russian occupation. He was actively involved with Afghanistan's Department of Anti-Terrorism on reintegrating and reconciling with insurgents, and helping to establish a stronger national police presence. He and his son were gunned down in their car by two insurgents.

"Mullah Ammanullah was very well known throughout his district for his efforts to bring stability to his people. We offer our sincere condolences to his family, as well as the Afghan civilians who had looked to him for guidance and leadership," ISAF spokesman Rear Adm. Vic Beck said. "Thanks to the efforts of Afghans like Mullah Ammanullah, the insurgency is losing momentum. We want all peace-loving Afghans to know that we feel the loss of Mullah Ammanullah as our loss, and we will strive to bring the responsible individuals to justice."

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