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American Forces Press Service

U.S., Afghan Forces Seize 2 Terrorists, Find Weapons Cache

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2007 – Afghan and U.S. security forces detained two suspected terrorist bombers and seized a weapons cache during separate operations in Afghanistan Dec. 24.

Afghan security troops, advised by coalition forces, disrupted major terrorist networks by arresting two key facilitators responsible for improvised-explosive-device attacks against civilian and military targets.

The combined operations, led by Afghan national police and border police units, were conducted in Kandahar and Paktya provinces.

The first operation involved tracking and arresting an insurgent in the Chamkani district of Paktya province. The insurgent was suspected to be involved in a number of attacks against Afghan National Police and coalition forces operating in the area.

“One individual is a suspected insurgent facilitator, believed to be responsible for coordinating IED attacks and insurgent activity directed against (Afghan security) personnel over the past year,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “The successful ANP operation should go a long way in disrupting insurgents’ operations in the immediate Chamkani area.”

The arrest also will “dramatically increase force protection in the area,” especially for police and border police vehicles, which have been the primary target of insurgent IED attacks, Belcher added.

The district subgovernor was impressed with the operation and praised the Afghan forces’ efforts to enhance security.

Afghan and coalition security forces also teamed up to remove another dangerous criminal from the streets in Kandahar province during a second operation the same day. The second detained individual is believed to be responsible for IED attacks in Tsagay and Khakrez in November.

The second detainee is also suspected of being a leader of a cell responsible for placing IEDs in five other villages in the region.

“Taliban extremists are deliberately forcing civilians into situations where they are either killed by the insurgents or are at risk of being placed in harm’s way during … security patrols,” Belcher said. “This shows that insurgents don’t have any respect for the villagers in this area.”

Also on Dec. 24, Afghan and coalition security forces discovered a weapons cache atop a ridge line in the Shahidi Hasas District of Oruzgan province.

The combined force was conducting a security sweep of the area after coming under enemy fire the day before. After the insurgents fled the area, Afghan and coalition forces thoroughly searched the enemy’s former defensive position, discovering several weapons, including an IED.

“Our team discovered an IED placed on the only vehicle route across the ridge,” said a coalition forces commander. “We dismantled the IED and brought all of the components back for analysis. We also discovered a Chinese-made anti-personnel mine on the ridge that was emplaced in the sand along the ridgeline.”

The team also found several 82 mm high-explosive mortar rounds hidden in a previously manned enemy fighting position. The weapons were placed in an area where villagers travel and represented a clear danger to residents. Local villagers had left Pasaw and Dosang in November when insurgents moved into the area, but they are starting to return home.

“The Taliban are a destructive force that targets innocent Afghan civilians,” Belcher said. “Displacing villagers and placing IEDs and anti-personnel mines along roadways and trails in these areas shows the Taliban’s complete disregard for the safety of the Afghan people.”

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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