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American Forces Press Service

Afghans Turning in Weapons to Military, Civil Authorities

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2005 Afghan citizens, police and soldiers turned in three caches of munitions at separate locations near Bagram April 17.

Together, the caches contained more than 400 mortars, 75 artillery rounds, 31 rockets, 10 rocket-propelled grenades, nine hand grenades, and hundreds of small-arms rounds.

One cache was destroyed where it was discovered. The two others were transported to local coalition bases for later destruction.

Two improvised explosive devises were also discovered the same day in Helmand province -- one by the Afghan National Army outside of Lashkar Gah, the other by the Garmser district police along a dirt road leading to a small village in that district. Both Afghan citizens and coalition forces travel the road frequently.

"Today, more then half of the IEDs are discovered before they detonate, and 90 percent of all discoveries are the result of an Afghan coming forward with the information," said Army Lt. Col. Jack Knox, commander of the coalition's IED task force. "Afghans are reporting the discovery of an IED to either the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police or directly to coalition forces."

Knox also noted that only four percent of the IEDs turned in are linked to any kind of monetary reward. “The remaining 96 percent are the direct result of a desire to cooperate with the Afghan government and with Combined Joint Task Force 76,” he said. “Overall, there’s been an upswing in the turn-in of caches. People realize that winning the IED fight is a means of the return of stability and law and order to this country."

In Dawlet Shah, a district in eastern Laghman province, the local police chief turned over another weapons cache to the Afghan National Police April 16. The ANP, in turn, handed the cache over to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, at its forward operating base in the province.

This cache consisted of various munitions and weapon parts, including three 82 mm mortar rounds, three Russian machine guns (circa 1940s), three RPG launchers, six rocket launchers, one DShK machine gun, and 38 boxes of 12.7 mm ammunition. All items were in serviceable condition, and are awaiting disposal by explosive –ordnance disposal personnel.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan press releases.)

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