Afghan Police, Coalition Troops Take on Extremists
WASHINGTON, June 20, 2006 – Police in Afghanistan's Paktika province successfully defended a district center early today, and Afghan and coalition forces continued their assault yesterday on insurgents in Helmand province, military officials reported. Afghan police repelled an overnight attack on the Kushamound District Center, killing six extremists and wounding 15 others, officials said.
A police officer suffered a minor chest injury, and the district center building received damage to a door and several shattered windows. Coalition military officials said the police did not require coalition assistance in repelling the attack. In other news, Afghan and coalition forces continued their assault on insurgents in northern Helmand province yesterday, killing five insurgents and a possible Taliban leader as part of Operation Mountain Thrust.
Afghan and Coalition forces received information about a known Taliban safe house located in the village of Emam Rabat in the Musa Qaleh district, where the coalition engaged and killed the five extremists while they met near a river in the village. No injuries to civilians or to Afghan or coalition servicemembers were reported during the operation. One of the insurgents killed is believed to be responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the Musa Qaleh district, as well as involvement in weapons and narcotics trafficking, officials said.
"Our intense and deadly pursuit of Taliban extremists hiding in southern Afghanistan will continue," said Army Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman. "The extremists have two options: reconcile with the government of Afghanistan or face the consequences." Taliban extremists on June 18 tried to destroy a school that they previously had burned in the Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province, officials reported today.
On June 3, under the cover of darkness, extremists burned the Wardag Kat Primary School in Wardag Village, causing extensive damage to the roof and interior of the building. Insurgents returned on the evening of June 18 and destroyed portions of the school's walls. No injuries were reported.
"This destructive and despicable act is a reflection of what Taliban extremists represent," Fitzpatrick said. "Depriving innocent Afghan children of education is how these extremists attempt to control the people." Taliban extremists have been implicated or have claimed responsibility for damaging more than 45 schools, assassinating teachers and intimidating Afghan school-aged children in the past year, officials said.