Afghan and coalition forces killed or captured hundreds of Taliban and Haqqani extremists during the past month, military officials said.
In August, the security forces detained more than 500 insurgents and killed 160 more. Among the captured or killed were 23 Haqqani network chiefs and 53 Taliban leaders. These leadership figures include shadow governors, commanders, subcommanders and weapons facilitators.
Clear rules of engagement and extreme measures were taken to avoid civilian casualties, resulting in 85 percent of the 186 operations conducted without shots fired.
"August was an extremely successful month for Afghan and coalition forces in which several high-level Haqqani and Taliban leaders were captured," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, the director of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command's Combined Joint Operations Center. "These operations have degraded the insurgents' capabilities to execute complex attacks against the Afghan population, and helped facilitate further security force operations to degrade insurgent criminal activities in Afghanistan."
For example, this week Afghan and coalition forces captured and killed several Haqqani network commanders following attempted attacks on Forward Operating Base Salerno and Chapman.
Immediately following the attacks, coalition forces conducted a precision air strike on a vehicle occupied by three Haqqani fighters as they were fleeing the area. Mudasir, a Haqqani facilitator of suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices, was killed along with two additional insurgents. Mudasir, who was also known as Qari Ishaq, had direct ties to Haqqani network senior leadership based in Pakistan and was a teacher at a madrassa known to facilitate suicide bombers.
"We will continue to kill or capture these insurgent groups who are constantly terrorizing the peaceful people of Afghanistan," Torres said. "These combined operations establish the security needed to make feasible ANSF training, local populace protection and improving governance throughout the country."
In other news:
-- An Afghan-coalition force detained several insurgents in Ghazni province. While conducting a routine mission in the local area, Afghan and coalition forces came under mortar attack from local insurgent forces. The combined force quickly located the mortar location at a nearby compound. When Afghan and coalition forces entered the compound, several males ran away. They were subsequently caught, detained and tested for explosive residue. The tests came back positive, and the attackers were detained in the custody of the Afghan national police. "Acts of violence against Afghan and coalition forces will not be tolerated," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, director of the International Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center. "We will continue to seek out and detain the enemies of Afghanistan who wish to inflict harm on Afghan people, as well as Afghan and coalition forces."
-- Afghan and coalition security forces assessed that one of the insurgents detained in Kunduz province Aug. 31 was planning to carry out a suicide attack. During their search the security force discovered an intact improvised explosive device wired inside a suitcase.
-- The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that an Aug. 30 coalition force precision air strike in Kandahar province killed Zulmai, a Taliban commander responsible for directing improvised explosive device attacks against Afghan civilians and Afghan and coalition forces. The commander also coordinated the movement of supplies and fighters throughout the province. Intelligence tracked three Taliban insurgents to an open, unpopulated field of Zharay District. After ensuring no civilians were present, coalition aircraft engaged the insurgents, killing Zulmai and another insurgent, and wounding the other. Initial operating reporting states there were no civilian casualties.
In Aug. 31 news:
-- A motorcycle-borne improvised explosive device detonated in Kandahar, killing Kandahar's hajj and pilgrimage chief and his body guard. Six Afghan civilians were also wounded in the explosion. "Our thoughts are with their family during this difficult time," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, director of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center. "Criminals continue to attack Afghan civilians and government officials showing a total disregard for human life and the peaceful people of this country."
-- Coalition forces captured two suspected insurgents and located and seized a weapons cache in the Malajat District of Kandahar province. During joint clearing operations south of Kandahar City, Afghan police, along with soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division discovered a weapons cache and bomb-making materials. The operation recovered weapons, several hundred rounds of ammunition and IED components. Two suspected insurgents were detained. The weapons and bomb-making materials were confiscated by Afghan security forces. "The rapid response of vigilant ANSF and ISAF forces helped remove criminals off the streets of Kandahar and disrupted future insurgent operations," said Maj. Earl Brown, spokesman for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
-- An Afghan-coalition security force detained several insurgents in Helmand province while in pursuit of a Taliban shadow governor in Musa Qal'ah District. Four insurgents were killed.
-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained two insurgents in Ghazni province, including a Taliban subcommander linked to coordinating attacks which threaten the security and safety of the local population. Acting on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound in the village of Pajak in Deh Yak District to search for the commander. Afghan soldiers used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then secured the area. After initial questioning, the assault force identified and detained the commander and another insurgent for further questioning. The security force found multiple weapons at the scene. The security force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children during the search.
-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several insurgents in Nangarhar province while in pursuit of the Taliban shadow governor for Rodat District who is linked to foreign fighters and suicide bombers. The security force targeted a compound southeast of the village of Sarachah in Behsud District to search the area. Afghan soldiers used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then secured the area. After initial questioning, the assault force detained the insurgents.
-- An Afghan-coalition security force detained several insurgents in Khost province, including a Haqqani network facilitator linked to coordinating the movement of weapons and IED-making materials. The security force targeted a series of compounds northeast of the village of Badi Kheyl in Khost District to search for the facilitator. After initial questioning, the assault force detained the facilitator along with two of his associates for further questioning. "The pressure will continue against the Haqqani network leadership," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, the director of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center. "As a result of these operations, Haqqani's leadership in Khost and Paktiya provinces is severely disrupted, allowing the time and space for the Afghan government to spread its influence to better support the Afghan people." The security force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children during the search.
-- An Afghan-coalition force conducting a medical evacuation mission were forced to fire on two Afghan civilians who displayed hostile intent to the combined force in the area of Marjah in Helmand province. The combined force had established a cordon to await the arrival of a medical evacuation helicopter when the two Afghan civilians approached the cordon. The combined force used established procedures to warn the individuals to stop and exit the area. The individuals ignored the warnings and continued to advance toward the cordon. The combined force determined that the individuals displayed hostile intent, and in accordance with established procedures, the force fired on the individuals. One Afghan civilian was killed and the other wounded. The combined force evacuated the wounded civilian to a nearby coalition medical facility where he received medical treatment. The incident is under review.
-- An Afghan and coalition security force detained several insurgents in Logar province while in pursuit of a Taliban commander who leads 40 fighters in attacks against Afghan officials and coalition forces operating in Logar. The commander also is linked to a recent IED attack that killed four US soldiers. "We will continue to target those responsible for the IED attacks that are killing Afghan civilians, as well as Afghan and coalition forces," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, the director of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center. "This dangerous commander was directly involved in yesterday's attack and we'll do everything in our power to bring him to justice." The security force targeted a compound in the village of Yusof Kheyl in Baraki Barak District to search the area. Afghan soldiers used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then secured the area. After initial questioning on the scene, the assault force detained three insurgents for further questioning. The security force also found a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher with a round and multiple automatic weapons with ammunition. The security force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children during the search.
-- Coalition forces came under heavy small-arms fire in the Musa Qal'ah District of Helmand province. The force identified the insurgent firing position and called for precision artillery fire and close-air support. Two precision artillery rounds were fired at the enemy position and a coalition aircraft employed a laser-guided munition and strafing to defeat the insurgent attack. The coalition force observed all munitions striking the targeted location. Following the incident, the force conducted a battle-damage assessment and found the bodies of one insurgent and two female Afghan civilians. Two other Afghan civilians were injured in the incident. A joint Afghan and ISAF team will travel to Helmand to make an assessment of what occurred.
Article by Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs