Jan. 3, 2008 - Afghan national security forces saved the lives of Afghan civilians and coalition forces when they found two improvised explosive devices placed on commonly used routes in the Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province last week, military officials reported today. During a security patrol to provide medical and humanitarian aid to villagers in the area, Afghan National Army soldiers assigned to 205th Corps discovered an IED placed along a village roadway very near a mosque. The soldiers immediately secured the site and detained a suspect for questioning.
They also warned a coalition convoy on the same road of the danger ahead and prevented them from hitting the IED.
"If the ANA soldiers had not alerted us, we would have hit the IED," a commander from the coalition convoy said. "Their actions saved our lives and the lives of the villagers who regularly use the road to get to the mosque."
After the Afghan soldiers disabled the IED, they investigated the surrounding area and found a wire leading to the mosque, where an insurgent intended to detonate the bomb.
With the IED removed and the site safe, Afghan and coalition forces continued their mission until the Afghan-led convoy found another IED in the roadway. The second IED was in an area overlooking a village known for insurgent activity. Afghan army engineers destroyed the mine, protecting villagers who could have inadvertently set off the bomb.
"The ANA is a national institution that grows stronger every day," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. "Their actions continue to save the lives of countless civilians and coalition forces. Their capability to provide security in areas where insurgents are active is a testament to their bravery and capability."
(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)