War on Terrorism

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Allegations of Civilian Casualty in Logar Province Are False

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

July 27, 2010 - The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan was made aware today of allegations in the media regarding a civilian casualty incident in the vicinity of Charkh district, Logar province, according to military officials.

After conducting a thorough investigation of the alleged attack on Afghan civilians, Regional Command-East officials have determined the allegation is false.

"None of our operational reporting supports this unfounded claim," said U.S. Army Maj. Patrick R. Seiber, the public affairs director of RC-East.

In other recent Afghanistan news:

-- ISAF officials report that Taliban intimidation and brutality against the Afghan population has increased in recent weeks. According to ISAF records for July 2010, Taliban insurgents have been responsible for at least 95 civilian deaths and the wounding of more than 235 people.

"ISAF's information systems and operational reporting allow us to track detailed information regarding insurgent brutality and intimidation," said German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, ISAF spokesperson. "Several recent events show that the Taliban have abandoned any pretense of caring for Afghan civilians. Their actions show they are willing to harm anyone to return to power.

"Rather than intimidating citizens," Blotz said, "the murders and criminal acts of the Taliban are bringing citizens closer together."

Meanwhile, ISAF officials said, partnered Afghan and international security forces' actions continue to deny the insurgents any significant operational successes.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several suspected insurgents and killed one in Logar province during offensive clearing operations over the last 24 hours. Afghan and coalition security forces targeted several areas suspected of insurgent activity in the Charkh and Baraki Barak districts of Logar province. In Charkh district several suspected insurgents were detained after the assault force discovered and destroyed a cache of multiple grenades and automatic weapons. At another location in the district, the security force killed one man armed with an AK-47 after he attempted to engage the force. A separate Afghan-led security force cleared and secured several compounds west of Aladad Kheyl in Baraki Barak and detained several suspected insurgents after questioning residents. The women and children were protected throughout all of the searches.

In yesterday's Afghanistan news:

-- Insurgents killed six Afghan civilians, wounded two more and kidnapped an Afghan government official in the Siahgird district of Parwan province. The insurgents attacked vehicles carrying workers from an Afghan construction company with small-arms fire. Afghan National Police responded to the attack and forced the insurgents to flee. During their retreat, the insurgents kidnapped the attorney general for the district.

"These insurgents have chosen to follow Mullah Omar's recent guidance of attempting to capture or kill innocent civilians who are working for the coalition or government," said Col. Rafael Torres, ISAF Joint Command's Combined Joint Operations Center director. "Meanwhile, Omar is directing these attacks from the relative safety of his hiding place in Pakistan.

"The insurgents are attempting to deny Afghans of their opportunity to improve government capacity and promote economic development, Torres continued. "We will continue to work with our Afghan partners to seek out the insurgents responsible for these heinous acts."

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in Helmand last night while in pursuit of a senior Taliban commander and member of the Nawa Military Commission who's linked to decisions involving military operations and matters of governance within the Taliban-controlled areas of Nawah-ye Barakzai district. The joint security force targeted a remote compound south in Nawah-ye Barakzai district and Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to peacefully exit the buildings. After questioning all the residents, several suspected insurgents were detained for further questioning. Approximately 15 pounds of black tar heroin, illegal in any amount under Afghan law, was found at the scene. No shots were fired and the women and children were protected throughout the search.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force conducted multiple precision strikes in Paktiya province targeting the senior Haqqani Network commander for Khost-Gardez pass responsible for the overall command and control of all Haqqani and foreign fighter camps in the area. Afghan and coalition forces are still gathering information to confirm the commander's death. The Haqqani commander is linked to attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and is said to be in regular contact with top Haqqani leaders situated across the border in Pakistan. After verifying insurgent activity and conducting an exhaustive review to avoid civilian casualties and mitigate collateral damage, a precision air strike was called to hit a bunker complex in a remote area of Dzadran district of Paktiya province where intelligence sources reported the commander to be hiding. The nearest populated area was more than a kilometer away and there are no reports of civilian casualties as a result of this strike.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in Kandahar while in pursuit of a Taliban military commander who targets Afghan civilians working with coalition forces. The commander is also linked to suicide attacks against Afghan civilians throughout Kandahar province. The security force surrounded the targeted compound south of Bala Dehe Sufla in Panjwa'i district. All the occupants complied with the instructions provided by the Afghan forces using a loudspeaker. The suspected insurgents were detained for further questioning after all the residents were interviewed. No shots were fired and the women and children were protected throughout the search.

-- An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban subcommander and several additional suspected insurgents in Paktika province. The subcommander, who operated mainly in Mota Khan, conducted improvised explosive device attacks against coalition convoys and obtained explosives for his network. The security force surrounded the targeted compound east of Sharan and Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to peacefully exit the buildings. Several men attempted to disguise themselves by dressing in female attire before exiting the compound. However, they were immediately identified and detained for further questioning. The subcommander and several suspected insurgents were detained. The assault force discovered automatic weapons, ammunition, magazines and a bayonet, along with IED material, including 31 pressures switches and multiple pressure plates. A bag containing Pakistani, Afghani and American cash was also found at the scene. No shots were fired and the women and children were protected throughout the search.

In July 25 Afghanistan news:

-- Afghan and coalition forces recovered the remains of a missing ISAF servicemember in eastern Afghanistan after an extensive search, ISAF officials said. Afghan and coalition forces launched an extensive search-and-recovery operation when two servicemembers failed to report to their destination July 23. Search efforts will continue until the other missing servicemember is found. The ISAF holds the captors accountable for the safety and proper treatment of the missing servicemember, officials said.

In July 24 Afghanistan news:

-- Four Afghan civilians were injured by two separate IED attacks in Badghis province. ISAF medics responded to the incidents. According to initial reports a civilian was injured by an IED in the Bala Murghab district. He was immediately brought to the surgical team at forward operating base Todd-Columbus for emergency care where he was stabilized and airlifted to the military hospital at Camp Zafar for further treatment. The second IED blast, which injured three more civilians, occurred near Darreh Ye Bum. ISAF forces in Bala Murghab provided medical care and evacuated the injured to an ISAF medical facility.

"These events demonstrate the complete disregard that insurgents have for the lives of Afghan people," said Torres, the ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "Insurgents deliberately target civilians with suicide attacks and IEDs, with no regard for Afghan lives.

"Eliminating militant IED operations is a key focus of ISAF," Torres continued. "The highly indiscriminate nature of IEDs makes them a threat not only to Afghanistan's security forces and ISAF, but also to innocent Afghan civilians."

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