WASHINGTON, July 17, 2006 – Coalition forces in Afghanistan had a long string of successes against terrorists during the last two days, military officials reported. They killed four suspected terrorists today, attacked the safe house of a known Taliban commander last night, thwarted a terrorist attack from a hospital yesterday, and confiscated a large weapons cache yesterday.
Coalition forces killed four suspected al Qaeda terrorists, detained three suspected al Qaeda terrorists and destroyed a weapons cache during an early morning raid today in Kwost province near the village of Pelan Kheyl. The operation was to capture or kill an al Qaeda operational leader who is a significant threat to Afghan and coalition forces in the Khowst province, officials said.
Elsewhere, Afghan and coalition forces attacked the safe house of a known Taliban commander in the Sangin district of Helmand province last night. A variety of intelligence assets identified the extremist's location before the compound was attacked with joint fire and the building destroyed, officials said. The commander's name will be withheld for security reasons until his death is confirmed, officials said.
Coalition forces had been watching the safe house and saw no evidence of non-combatants or signs that civilians were affected by the strike, officials said. In a separate operation, a group of Taliban extremists attacked Afghan and coalition security forces yesterday. The extremists attacked the combined force with machine-gun fire from inside a hospital in the Nawzad district center of Helmand province, which they were using for cover.
Despite receiving direct fire, the coalition ground commander held off returning fire until he was able to confirm that neither patients nor staff members were inside the hospital. Afghan National Police helped confirm this information. After positively confirming that only enemy fighters were in the hospital, the coalition troops launched a single precision-guided munition at the enemy machine-gun position to minimize damage and impact only that position, officials said.
"The coalition, working with the Afghan national security forces, is determined to root out these enemy safe havens and help establish the conditions for reconstruction and aid to come to the people of Nawzad," Col. Thomas Collins, a coalition spokesman, said. "The Afghan people should have the opportunity to live in peace without fear, and they deserve the chance for a better future."
This was the 17th straight day of fighting between Afghan and coalition forces and enemy fighters, officials said.
In other news, coalition forces confiscated a significant weapons cache during a cordon-and-search operation yesterday in the Bermal district of Paktika province. The weapons recovered included rifles, AK-47s, shotguns, ammunition, powder charges, a suicide bomber belt and various improvised explosive device parts. Foreign passports, airline tickets and other extremist documents also were recovered.