WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2006 – Afghan and coalition forces killed an al Qaeda member and detained 13 other suspected terrorists today during an early-morning operation in Afghanistan's Khowst province, U.S. military officials reported. The operation's aim was to capture a known al Qaeda facilitator considered a significant threat to Afghan and coalition forces. Intelligence linked the targeted terrorist to weapons and explosive smuggling, officials said.
The assault force first requested a peaceful surrender of people within the suspect's hideout. Most inside immediately surrendered. During a routine search of the compound's buildings, a man disguised as a woman resisted capture and was shot and killed, officials said. Numerous detonators and other bomb-making materials were discovered during the operation. The material was later moved outside of the compound and destroyed. No Afghan or coalition forces were injured during the operation.
In other news from Afghanistan, a suicide bomber rammed an Afghan National Army vehicle near an open market in the country's Paktika province yesterday, wounding seven Afghan troops and three civilians. Coalition forces provided security at the site until the wounded were evacuated. "This is what the Taliban offer the people of Afghanistan -- death and destruction for the innocent," Army Lieutenant Colonel Paul Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force 76, said.
Elsewhere, 20 people, including women and children, were wounded in eastern Afghanistan Aug. 13 when extremists fired a rocket at road construction workers and instead hit a house. The incident occurred in Kunar province, where workers were asphalting a road.
In a separate incident, extremists set fire to two trucks and hijacked three others in Zabul province Aug. 13. = The trucks were transporting supplies to U.S.-run bases in Kandahar. No one was injured in this attack.
In addition, at least 18 extremists died in a thwarted attack on an Afghan National Army command post in Paktika province Aug. 13.
Five Afghan soldiers were killed and six were wounded when their unit received small-arms and rocket-propelled-grenade fire from a group of extremists. Three of the wounded soldiers suffered minor wounds and were returned to duty after being treated on the scene. The three other wounded soldiers were evacuated by air to a coalition medical facility for treatment, officials said.
The Afghan unit, with a coalition embedded tactical training team attached, repelled the attack by directing mortar and artillery fire from nearby coalition bases. "With the coalition's assistance, Afghan national security forces are gaining long-term capability and presence in these areas to provide security and stability to the Afghan people," Fitzpatrick said. "Steady progress is being made, and we will continue together to pursue the enemy wherever they try to hide."