War on Terrorism

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Underground Weapons Caches Discovered in Oruzgan

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 1, 2008 - Afghan and coalition troops discovered several underground weapons caches in the Deh Rawood district of Oruzgan province Jan. 26. The combined force was conducting a
security patrol in the district to eliminate insurgent activity. Insurgents attacked from several different firing positions with small-arms and automatic-weapons fire, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar fire during the patrol along the Helmand and Tiri Rivers near the villages of Tarak and Kakrak.

The Afghan-led force, consisting of troops from the Afghan National
Army's 201st Kandak, Afghan National Police, Kandahar Auxiliary Unit, and coalition soldiers, immediately returned fire and called in close-air-support aircraft to drop precision-guided munitions to disrupt the attack.

When the engagement ended, the combined force searched the area where the attacks originated. The search turned up a number of underground weapons caches hidden in compounds near the village.

In one weapons cache, 12 RPGs and boxes of 7.62 mm ammunition were stockpiled in a 15-feet-deep hole. Another underground cache held an anti-aircraft gun. A third cache held several automatic weapons, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades. A final weapons cache was found in the largest hole and may have been used as a make-shift medical treatment area for insurgent fighters. Inside the 10-foot-by-30-foot cave, Afghan soldiers found more ammunition and RPGs. They also found several boxes of medical supplies.

"These insurgents were definitely prepared for a fight," said
Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. "(Afghan national security force) soldiers stopped the attack and expelled the insurgents from the area. The insurgents won't use these fighting positions for attacks in the future."

"(Afghan forces) and the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are keeping the pressure on the insurgents throughout the winter," Belcher said. "Removing weapons and former safe havens from insurgent control will make the area safer for Afghan citizens."

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