Afghan, Coalition Forces Pursue Taliban Commanders

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2010 - Afghan and coalition forces continued their pursuit of Taliban commanders in recent operations, taking numerous insurgents into custody in the process, military officials reported.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several suspected insurgents in Helmand province yesterday while in pursuit of a Taliban commander operating in the province's Nawah-ye Barakzai district. The commander is responsible for conducting roadside-bomb attacks and kidnapping Afghan civilians, and is being considered to replace the former district commander, who was detained by an Afghan-led force in August.

-- ISAF officials confirmed the capture of a Taliban commander and two associates operating in Marja in Helmand province. The Taliban commander, who also facilitated supplies for area fighters, was captured during a Sept. 21 Afghan and coalition operation. The security force also found 45 pounds of wet opium, which often is illegally trafficked to fund the insurgency.

-- In Zabul province's Shah Joy district yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected insurgents during their continued pursuit of a Taliban facilitator involved in obtaining components for remote-controlled roadside-bombs.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several suspected insurgents in Khost province yesterday while in pursuit of a senior Haqqani terrorist network facilitator responsible for procuring bomb-making materials for use throughout the Paktika, Paktia and Khost region. Coalition forces conducted a precision air strike targeting the facilitator in a remote area s in the Shamul district. A follow-on ground force learned the facilitator was wounded in the strike and was taken from the area. The security force then detained several suspected insurgents for further questioning.

Afghan and coalition forces protect any women and children present during their searches, officials said.

Meanwhile, two roadside bombs injured at least 15 Afghan civilians in Jalalabad last night. Insurgents have been directly targeting Afghan civilians and putting bombs in places where Afghans travel, work and gather in large numbers, said Navy Rear Adm. Greg Smith, ISAF director of communications. Yesterday's attack occurred near the district prosecutor's office in the Nangahar provincial capital.

"We condemn this callous attack against the Afghan people," Smith said. "It is another demonstration of insurgents' contempt for innocent civilians. Our sympathies are with the families and friends of those harmed by this attack. ISAF stands shoulder to shoulder with our Afghan partners, and together we will continue to drive the insurgents out of areas where they can hurt the Afghan people."

Insurgents commonly employ tactics that result in indiscriminate violence, as evidenced by their frequent use of roadside bombs, Smith said. Through mid-September, insurgent bombs had killed and wounded about 1,500 innocent civilians, he added.

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