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American Forces Press Service

Afghan, U.S. Forces Capture Militants in Nuristan Province Raid

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2008 – Afghan and coalition security forces operating in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province cleared Kendal and Shok villages of insurgents and captured several suspects yesterday, military officials reported, while coalition troops and Afghan police seized two militants in operations in Khowst province.

The combined Afghan-U.S. force repelled the attack with accurate small-arms fire and crew-served weapons. During the long battle, the insurgents reinforced their positions in several compounds with large groups of fighters. Close-air support was called upon to dislodge the heavily armed insurgents from their reinforced defensive positions.

After neutralizing the threat, the combined force detained numerous insurgents, secured several compounds, and discovered fully loaded weapons and stores of ammunition.

There were no reports of civilian casualties, officials said. Following a thorough search of the areas, the combined Afghan and U.S. forces withdrew from the area with the detained personnel under the control of Afghan National Police participating in the mission.

Kendal and Shok villages have long been identified as insurgent strongholds, officials said. Villagers in the area have lived in fear of insurgents supporting the Hizb-E-Islami Gulbuddin terrorist organization. This operation will significantly reduce the terrorists’ ability to conduct future operations in the area, according to military officials.

In other news from Afghanistan, two suspected militants were detained yesterday during a joint Afghan police and coalition forces counterinsurgency operation in Khowst province, military officials reported.

Afghan national police and coalition troops searched compounds in the Sabari district as they searched for a militant sub-commander linked to roadside bomb attacks in the area. During their search, Afghan police confirmed that militants were not hiding or storing weapons or roadside bombs in a mosque on the compound. Two individuals with suspected links to the targeted senior militant were detained, and an AK-47 rifle was confiscated during the operation.

“Mindful of cultural sensitivities, only Afghan National Police entered the mosque to ensure it was not being inappropriately used by militants, and any individuals inside were unharmed,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition forces spokesman. “Coalition forces remained outside the mosque, ensuring non-combatant civilians on the compound were protected from possible hostilities.”

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

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