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American Forces Press Service

Coalition, Afghan Troops Arrest 2 Taliban Leaders

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 26, 2012 – A combined coalition and Afghan security force arrested two Taliban leaders -- an attack commander and an improvised explosive device expert -- during an operation in the Ghazni district of Afghanistan’s Ghazni province today, military officials reported.

The attack commander is suspected of having directed IED attacks against coalition and Afghan security forces across the district, officials said, in addition to coordinating the construction of homemade bombs and providing training on their use and placement. He also is believed to be involved in suicide bomber training. The security force also detained three other suspected insurgents in the operation.

Also today, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban leader in Ghazni province’s Wali Muhammad Shahid Khugyani district. He is believed to have coordinated with insurgent groups to conduct direct-fire and IED attacks targeting Afghan and coalition forces. The security force also detained four other suspected insurgents.

In operations around Afghanistan yesterday:

-- A precision airstrike killed Malang, a Taliban leader, in the Sayyidabad district of Afghanistan’s Wardak province after a combined security force saw him engaged in insurgent activity and ensured that no civilians were in the area. Malang was directly involved in planning attacks using improvised explosive devices against Afghan and coalition forces, as well coordinating the movement of insurgent fighters throughout the region. A post-strike assessment determined no civilians were harmed and no civilian property was damaged during the operation.

-- Provincial Response Company Wardak, mentored by coalition forces, reinforced another response company patrol that came under enemy fire in Wardak province’s Maidan Shahr district. The combined force defeated the attack, killing seven insurgents. Responding to a request for a quick-reaction force, the combined element reached the unit in contact and was itself engaged by small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire from insurgents before fighting off the attack. Coalition officials said the rapid and effective response from PRC Wardak demonstrates their increased capability and their dedication to supporting their fellow Afghans in arms.

-- A combined U.S. Army Special Forces and Afghan National Army force killed an insurgent after being attacked at a local bazaar and at a combined outpost in Wardak province’s Bahadur village. After eight to 10 insurgents opened fire with small arms and rocket propelled grenades, the combined force returned fire, secured the bazaar and village, and killed the insurgent at his fighting position. No civilians or Afghan forces were injured or killed during the engagement.

In a Sept. 24 operation, a combined security force arrested a Haqqani network IED attack leader in Khost province’s Khost district. Officials said he is suspected of coordinating and planning IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout the region and was directly involved in acquiring and distributing a large amount of explosives and weapons, as well as providing training on the use of homemade bombs. He also is believed to have been trying to infiltrate Afghan security forces. The security force also seized firearms and heavy weapons ammunition.

In other news, an orphaned Afghan boy escaped from insurgents who were trying to use him as a suicide bomber and fled to the Afghan National Police in Helmand province’s Nawa district Sept. 22.

The boy told Afghan police that insurgents had given him money to influence him to wear a suicide vest and detonate it near coalition or Afghan security personnel. He refused, and now is receiving care and support from the police.

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