American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2010 - An Afghan-international joint security force killed more than 20 enemy militants and captured more than five others during an operation today in Afghanistan's Farah province in pursuit of a Taliban commander believed to responsible for organizing suicide-bombing attacks. The combined force targeted a series of compounds in Farah's Baghwa district near Tali Zardad after intelligence information indicated militant activity.
As the combined force approached one of the buildings in the targeted compound, a militant hiding inside tossed a grenade at them. After calling for the militant to surrender, the combined force attempted to enter the building, and the militant detonated a suicide vest he was wearing. No members of the combined force were harmed by the blast.
After the explosion, a large number of armed militants attempted to maneuver on the combined force. The combined force engaged the militants, killing more than 20 and wounding one. At least five other militants were captured and were detained along with the injured individual, who received medical treatment for his injuries.
In addition to the suicide vest and grenade used by the first militant, the combined force found a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, RPG rounds, grenades, a machine gun, multiple assault rifles and ammunition magazines, bomb components, handheld radios of a type often used by militants for communications and a heavy machine gun.
In the Mohammad Agha district of Logar province last night, a combined force searched a compound after intelligence indicated militant activity and captured a Taliban subcommander with ties to several militant networks believed to be responsible for bombing attacks.
Yesterday, a combined patrol discovered four mortar rounds and a 55 mm shell in one area and three 155 mm Russian-era artillery rounds in another area of Kandahar City.
No Afghan civilians were harmed during these operations, officials said.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry and NATO's International Security Assistance Force are conducting a joint investigation into the suspicious death of four Afghan civilians found in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province.
A combined force of Afghan and international troops last night found the bound and gagged bodies of two women and the bodies of two men during an operation in the province's Gardez district.
The force went to a compound near the village of Khatabeh after intelligence confirmed militant activity there. Several insurgents engaged the force in a firefight and were killed. Subsequently, a large number of men, women and children left the compound, and were detained by the force. Members of the combined force found the bodies inside.
The force immediately secured the area and requested medical support for a combined forensic investigation.
Eight men were detained for further questioning.
"ISAF continually works with our Afghan partners to fight criminals and terrorists who do not care about the life of civilians," ISAF spokesman Canadian army Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said. "The Interior Ministry of Afghanistan has sent a high-ranking delegation today to jointly investigate this incident. We will cooperate fully in this joint investigation and provide any assistance the Interior Ministry requires." (Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.