Afghan, Coalition Forces Pursue Enemy Fighters, Leaders

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 - Afghan and coalition forces continued their pursuit of enemy fighters, leaders and facilitators in several recent operations, military officials reported.

In Kabul province today, multiple intelligence sources and tips from local residents led a joint Afghan and coalition force patrol to an insurgent cell that was planning an attack on the Kabul Military Training Center during the upcoming elections.

The patrol moved into the targeted compound without incident and detained two men who tested positive for handling explosives. While they were being questioned by Afghan authorities, the men implicated a local religious leader as a co-conspirator, who also was arrested.

In an intelligence-driven operation in Kunduz province yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces detained a suspected insurgent while in pursuit of a Taliban district commander for the province's Chahar Darah district.

The commander maintains connections with Pakistani-based Taliban leadership and commands a group of al-Qaida and Taliban members within his district.

The security force found multiple weapons and magazines at the scene, did not fire their weapons, and protected women and children during the search.

In a separate operation in the same district yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces acting on intelligence information detained several insurgents, including an Uzbek national who facilitates foreign-fighter operations in Chahar Darah for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan terrorist organization and maintains ties to local Taliban and Iranian-based facilitators in the organization.

The security force found and destroyed weapons bomb-making materials at the scene. They did not fire their weapons, and they protected women and children during the search.

In Khost province's Terayzai district yesterday, Afghan and coalition security forces acting on intelligence information detained two insurgents, including a Haqqani terrorist network facilitator involved in gathering bomb-making materials and carrying out attacks. The security force found multiple weapons and magazines at the scene, did not fire their weapons, and protected women and children during the search.

In Wardak province yesterday, multiple intelligence sources and tips from local residents led coalition forces to the location of a known Taliban district commander, who was targeted and killed by a coalition air strike yesterday.

According to intelligence reports, the Taliban district commander had received extensive training in Pakistan in the manufacturing and emplacing of roadside bombs and construction of suicide-bomber vests. He also was directly responsible for ordering attacks and planted roadside bombs throughout Wardak. He also was known to have facilitated recent suicide bombings in Kabul province, and to have been actively planning attacks in hopes of disrupting Afghanistan's upcoming elections.

Initial reports indicate no civilians were in the area during the strike, officials said.

In Paktia province's Sharan district yesterday, an Afghan civilian was killed after failing to heed several warnings to stop approaching a security perimeter.

After a convoy was attacked with device roadside bomb, coalition forces set up a security perimeter and were approached by an Afghan who failed to stop after receiving several verbal and visual warnings. Coalition forces followed the appropriate escalation of force procedures before engaging and killing him, officials said.

In Nangarhar province last night, an Afghan and coalition security force killed three insurgents during the continued pursuit of a Taliban member who specializes in advanced roadside bombs.

When the security force approached the targeted compound in the Sherzad district, several armed insurgents hiding in a tree line fired at them. The security force returned fire.

When the gunfire subsided, the security force searched the area and found that three armed insurgents had been killed. A minor who was with the insurgents also was killed in the engagement.

"Afghan and coalition forces do not intentionally target minors, and we take these incidents very seriously," said Air Force Col. James Dawkins, ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "The security force always exercises extreme measures to avoid injuring innocent civilians, but insurgents continuously take actions that place them at risk. While every soldier has a right to self defense, we greatly regret these incidents."

In stark contrast to Taliban proclamations that they are committed to protecting the Afghan population, reality continues to show that the prevailing threat to the Afghan people remains indiscriminant insurgent violence, ISAF officials said, noting that insurgents are responsible for 25 Afghan civilian deaths and 60 injuries so far this month.

"While the Taliban talk of protecting the people and issue disingenuous directives claiming to shield Afghans from harm, instead they have increased their use of indiscriminate violence, killing scores of innocent Afghans" said Navy Rear Adm. Greg Smith, ISAF communication director. "Their rhetoric does not match reality."

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