Coalition Forces Battle Extremists in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON, June 16, 2006 – Coalition forces defeated a large group of extremists in western Uruzgan province today in conjunction with Operation Mountain Thrust in southern Afghanistan, officials reported today. Coalition forces engaged the enemy in a compound killing an estimated 40 insurgents while they were meeting at a known enemy camp within the Khod Valley, Shaheed Hasas district.
There were no injuries to civilians observed during the operation. "Coalition forces tracked the development of this meeting until there were more than 50 extremists gathered before attacking the compound," said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman. "The compound was severely damaged, and we anticipate most of those present were killed."
The Taliban extremists included members of an improvised explosive device cell, financiers and area leaders responsible for launching numerous attacks against Afghan civilians and the Afghan National Army to undermine the Afghan government's ability to provide security and services in Uruzgan. "Coalition forces have delivered a quick and severe blow to the enemy today," Fitzpatrick said. "With our Afghan allies, we will continue offensive operations in known enemy safe havens to disrupt or destroy these insurgent groups and restore safety and security to the region."
In other Mountain Thrust action today, Afghan National Army and coalition forces conducted a raid on a known Taliban compound northeast of Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan province. Elements of the 3rd Kandak, 1st Brigade, 205th ANA Corps, and coalition members raided a compound within the Baluchi Village killing five Taliban insurgents. There were no civilians or ANA members injured during the successful raid. One U.S. member was wounded and taken to a nearby treatment facility and is listed in stable condition.
A search of the compound resulted in the discovery of about 8 pounds of opium. Coalition forces do not have a direct role in counternarcotics, but are authorized to seize illegal drugs and detain traffickers to be turned over to Afghan authorities. The narcotics' seizure was a byproduct of the raid on a known insurgent compound. The compound had been used as a meeting place and sanctuary for Taliban insurgents to plan and conduct operations against local Afghans, government officials, and coalition forces.
"We will continue to aggressively hunt down Taliban leaders and insurgents who are attempting to escalate violence and instill fear," Fitzpatrick said. "Afghan and coalition forces strive to bring peace, freedom, and economic development to Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents only seek to terrorize, kill and oppress Afghans."