War on Terrorism

Monday, September 20, 2010

Forces Protect Afghans During Elections

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2010 – Afghan and coalition forces protected Afghan citizens from numerous attacks planned for the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections and in the days surrounding them, military officials reported.

In more than a dozen security operations, Afghan and International Security Assistance Force troops captured and killed numerous insurgents, many in the process of planting roadside bombs or conducting other attacks meant to disrupt elections, officials said.

Combined forces conducted more than 15 operations in seven Afghan provinces prior to and during the elections, which resulted in seven insurgent leaders captured and five killed, all of whom were actively planning attacks against the elections, they said.

"The insurgents threatened to carry out spectacular attacks during the elections; however, they failed,” said Army Col. Rafael Torres, ISAF Joint Command Combined joint operations center director. “Afghan forces with their coalition partners disrupted the insurgent's plans and tightened security throughout the country. We're happy that the Afghan people were afforded an opportunity vote and make their choices known."

In Badghis province:

-- A combined Afghan and coalition security force on Sept. 17 detained a suspected insurgent believed to be planning a vehicle-borne bombing attack near a polling center. The arrest came after Afghan police spotted a suspicious motorbike in a village bazaar. The motorbike had a container filled with explosives and a laptop computer battery attached to it. Coalition forces detained a man carrying a remote control and a mobile phone in the vicinity. The force handed the man over to Afghan authorities for processing, and a coalition explosive ordnance disposal team disposed of the explosive device.

In Farah province:

-- While on a routine aerial patrol, Afghan and coalition forces spotted insurgents planting roadside bombs in the Bakwah district and followed the insurgents back to their compound. As the combined force landed and approached the insurgent compound, they received heavy small-arms fire from multiple locations. The force called for close-air support to allow them to move back to the helicopters. The insurgents continued to fire at the force and helicopters as they departed the area. The aircraft fired back at the insurgent compound until the insurgent fire ceased.

In Ghazni province:

-- An ISAF air weapons team today killed five insurgent fighters planning to detonate a roadside bomb. Coalition explosive ordnance disposal teams investigated the site and discovered command wire, a grenade launcher, and fragmentation grenades.

-– A combined force today captured a suspected Taliban propaganda specialist involved in filming election attacks. Intelligence reporting led the security force overnight to a compound in the Ghazni district. After questioning residents, the force identified and detained the targeted man. The security force also discovered multiple grenades, ammunition and magazines along with video recording equipment at the scene.

In Helmand province:

-– A combined force detained several suspected Taliban insurgents yesterday while pursuing a Taliban leader who specializes in building roadside-bomb detonators and initiators. Intelligence reports led the force to target a compound in the Nahr-e Saraj district to search for the bomb expert, who regularly tests and purchases Iranian ammonium nitrate. After questioning residents, the force detained the suspected insurgents. They found 45 pounds of wet opium on the scene.

-- Combined forces found and destroyed explosives, bomb-making materials and two heavy machine guns during a Sept. 18 operation to find a senior Taliban commander in the southern Musa Qaleh district. The known rocket and mortar expert is responsible for numerous attacks on Afghan security forces, and also is a critical explosives and weapons supply link with insurgents in Pakistan. Though the targeted Taliban commander was not found, the force found in an outside building two heavy machine guns, small-arms weapons, explosives and bomb-making materials, as well as what appeared to be an explosive storage room with numerous tripwires. They determined the building was rigged to explode, and after moving civilians to a safe distance, the explosives were destroyed.

In Kabul province:

-- Multiple intelligence sources and residents’ tips led Afghan and coalition forces to arrest a suspected roadside-bomb trafficker Sept. 18.

In Kandahar province:

-- Coalition forces this morning conducted a precision air strike on a compound rigged with explosives that was discovered during an on-going clearing operation aimed at disrupting the Taliban outside Kandahar City. After confirming the building was bobby-trapped and ensuring no civilians were present, coalition forces conducted the precision air strike.

In Khost province:

-- Combined forces yesterday detained two insurgents, including a Haqqani terrorist network subcommander who conducted attacks on coalition forces. Intelligence reports led the force to a compound northwest of Khost City. The security force shot and killed an armed man who approached them from an adjacent building as they were clearing the compound. After the area was secure, the force questioned residents and detained the commander and one of his associates. The force also found multiple automatic weapons, magazines and grenades.

-- Coalition forces yesterday confirmed the capture of a Haqqani weapons and ammunition trafficker during a combined operation Sept. 17. Based on intelligence reports, the force targeted a compound in the Khost district to search for the man. An insurgent armed with an automatic weapon, a grenade and multiple ammunition magazines came out of a nearby building and tried to maneuver on the assault force. The force responded, killing him. The assault force also peacefully detained two men, including the suspect, who attempted to flee. Once the area was secure, Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, then the combined security force cleared and secured the compound. After questioning residents, the force detained three additional insurgents, and found multiple sets of military uniforms, rifles and grenades.

-– Combined forces captured a Haqqani facilitator who planned and conducted attacks on Afghan and coalition forces during a Sept. 18 operation. They also found an automatic weapon, ammunition, grenade bodies and used rocket motors.

In Kunar province:

-- Coalition forces used a precision air strike to kill Haji Mohammad, a key insurgent leader and Taliban shadow governor of the Shigal district as he was attempting to attack a polling site during the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections. He orchestrated attacks on Afghans who opposed his tactics, conducted illegal checkpoints intended to intimidate local Afghans, and kidnapped wealthy people to finance his activities. He was responsible for an attack on the Shigal district center and also is suspected of having ties with a June 21 suicide bombing in the district that injured eight Afghan children. He also is believed responsible for a June 7 roadside-bomb attack that killed five U.S. soldiers.

In Kunduz province:

-– A combined force detained two Taliban insurgents and killed five others yesterday while pursuing a Taliban subcommander in the Aliabad district. Several armed insurgents ran from the targeted building firing at the security force, which reacted by engaging the insurgents from the ground and from coalition aircraft. Five insurgents were killed. After questioning residents of the targeted compound, the force detained two insurgents.

-- A combined force killed at least four insurgents and detained one during a Sept. 17 operation. The force was in pursuit of a Taliban commander responsible for an early September remote-controlled bomb attack on an Afghan police patrol, and a former Taliban commander who is a senior foreign fighter and weapons trafficker. The targeted men, in concert with Taliban leaders in Pakistan, coordinate logistical support and attacks in the Gor Tappa region. Insurgents shot at the force throughout the operation, and the combined ground force and coalition aircraft returned fire. The force was unable to complete a full assessment of the areas, but confirmed four insurgents were killed. After questioning residents, the assault force detained one insurgent.

In Logar province:

-- A combined force in the Pul-e Alam district captured a Taliban subcommander yesterday who was wanted for bombing attacks.

In Nangarhar province:

-- Combined forces killed several insurgents, including Sayed Karim, a Taliban subcommander operating in the Khugyani district, on Sept. 18. Karim planned attacks, and led at least 15 insurgent fighters. As the force moved toward the targeted compound, insurgents it was met with small-arms fire from an open field and a nearby tree line. The assault force returned fire, killing two insurgents. As the firefight continued, coalition forces conducted an air strike on the tree line, killing another insurgent. They found multiple weapons and ammunition vests with the insurgents. While clearing the compound, the security force encountered armed insurgents barricading themselves in one of the buildings. The force killed four insurgents, one in the primary compound and three others in two adjacent compounds. When the area was secure, the assault force questioned all the people at the scene and detained one insurgent.

In Paktia province:

-- Coalition forces conducted a precision air strike yesterday, killing Abdul Jabar, a Haqqani network subcommander who reportedly conducted bombing attacks against civilians during the Sept. 18 elections. Acting on intelligence tips, coalition forces tracked him to a remote area in the Sayyid Karam district. The strike took place only after coalition forces identified insurgent activity and conducted careful planning to ensure no civilians were present. An aerial assessment confirmed Abdul Jabar was killed in the strike.

-- ISAF officials confirmed Janut Gul, a Haqqani facilitator who was planning vehicle-borne bombing attacks during parliamentary elections, was killed Sept. 18 by a precision air strike. Acting on intelligence tips, coalition forces tracked him from a compound to an open area in the Sayyid Karam district. After careful planning to ensure no civilians were present, coalition aircraft conducted a precision air strike against him. Although a ground force was unable to conduct an immediate assessment of the engagement area, ISAF officials confirmed the facilitator and three of his associates were killed.

In Paktika province:

-- ISAF officials today confirmed the Sept. 18 capture of a Taliban roadside-bomb cell leader operating in the Yosuf Khel district. The facilitator provided bombs and technical advice to area insurgents. The security force also found weapons at the scene.

In all operations where women and children were present, Afghan and coalition forces protected them and ensured innocent civilians were not present before opening fire, officials said.

In other news from Afghanistan, an ISAF vehicle struck and killed a local Afghan woman yesterday during a security patrol in the Alishang district of Laghman province. Initial reports indicate that the woman was struck as she was getting out of her vehicle. The woman's child also was injured, was taken to a nearby hospital, and was reported to be in stable condition. The incident is under investigation.

Also, four Afghans were wounded when they were struck by a roadside bomb in the Dara Noor district of Nangarhar province Sept. 18. An ISAF medic treated the wounded civilians.

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