WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2006 – An estimated 18 to 20 terrorist extremists died in a thwarted attack on an Afghan National Army command post in the Bermel district of Paktika province early this morning, military officials said. Five ANA 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 only 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. No report was available on their condition.
The ANA 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," said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force 76. "Steady progress is being made, and we will continue together to pursue the enemy wherever they try to hide."
Meanwhile, Afghan and coalition forces continue operations in eastern Afghanistan to strengthen the government through an increased Afghan security presence and reconstruction and humanitarian aid assistance, officials said.
In other news from Afghanistan, a combined Afghan and coalition force killed three al Qaeda members and detained their three associates in an early morning raid Aug. 11 in Khowst province. Numerous AK-47 assault rifles with armor-piercing ammunition, along with grenades and other ordnance, were found at the location. Fitzpatrick said the raid likely prevented more innocent Afghan civilian deaths, because these extremists "clearly had devious intentions to use these items to carry out violent acts."
On Aug. 10, enemy extremists in Paktika province tried to abduct a truck driver who was delivering gravel to local villages in Zarghun Shahr district. The terrorist extremist ambushed the driver using small-arms fire. The driver was able to evade them and reported the incident to local authorities.
"This was not an attack against the coalition, or even against Afghan security forces," Fitzpatrick said. "This was an attack against what we in America call "an average Joe" - a hardworking citizen, a man just trying to make a living, delivering gravel, that is part of this country's reconstruction effort to improve lives, and get this country moving."