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Archive for April, 2009

Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill Four, Detain Two

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 30, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces killed four men and detained two others in operations overnight to disrupt bomb-making networks in Afghanistan’s Lowgar and Helmand provinces.

In Lowgar’s Charkh district, Afghan and coalition forces conducted an assault to dismantle a Taliban network responsible for planning and conducting attacks. When the forces arrived at the rural village, they spotted several men moving in a field near the targeted compound. Using close-air support to contain the threat, they attempted to detain the men. One suspect was detained when he followed the forces’ instructions, but four others were killed during ensuing encounters.

A woman who was outside her compound when the assault force arrived at the village was inadvertently injured during the hostile action, officials said. She was treated by a medic and evacuated to a coalition hospital for additional treatment. An elder family member accompanied the wounded woman and remains with her at the hospital, where she was listed in stable condition.

Three women and three children who were inside when the assault force arrived, followed the Afghan forces’ instructions and were protected.

During a separate operation in Helmand’s Nad Ali district, a combined force searched a compound without incident, detaining an insurgent believed to be associated with an al-Qaida foreign-fighter cell in southern Afghanistan. During the search, forces found more than 200 pounds of opium, which they destroyed a safe distance from the compound. Eleven adults and 16 children were protected.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill More Than 40 Insurgents

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 29, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces today killed an estimated 42 insurgents during operations in Oruzgan, Helmand and Lowgar provinces.

In Oruzgan province, Afghan National Police and Coalition forces were conducting a routine combat reconnaissance patrol in Langar, Tarin Kowt District, when they were attacked by several militants with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire, from multiple sides.

After positively identifying the enemies’ positions, the Afghan-led force responded to the enemy attack with small-arms and heavy weapons fire. The militants repositioned and continued their attack on the convoy. Afghan and Coalition Forces returned fire and called for close-air support, killing 23 militants.

In Helmand province, Afghan commandos of the 205th Corps, Afghan National Army and Coalition Forces were conducting a cordon and search in the Lashkargah District when they positively identified armed militants preparing an attack from inside a wooded area.

The Afghan-led force engaged the militants with small-arms and heavy weapons fire, killing four militants.

After a search of the area, Afghan and Coalition Forces discovered 220 pounds of opium, 2,400 kilograms of ammonium nitrate commonly used by militants to produce explosives, and numerous pressure plates. Several improvised explosive devices were also discovered in the area and destroyed.

Militants re-engaged the combined force with small-arms and heavy weapons fire. ANSF and Coalition Forces pursued the enemy and returned fire, killing another five militants. Operations are still ongoing.

No Afghan, coalition or civilian casualties have been reported from either operation.

In Lowgar province, Afghan-coalition force targeted a village located about 80 kilometers southwest of Kabul in the Baraki Barak district. Intelligence sources indicated Taliban operatives were in the area.

En route to the village, Afghan and coalition troops encountered and killed two insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47 rifles and grenades.

Shortly afterward, a small group of heavily armed insurgents attacked the Afghan-coalition force as it approached the village. An estimated eight insurgents were killed during the brief battle. Afghan and coalition forces sustained no injuries.

Upon search of the compounds in the village, Afghan and coalition troops detained two suspected Taliban insurgents. Enemy weapons, RPGs and other grenades recovered after the battle were destroyed.

In yesterday’s news:

– Afghan soldiers and coalition troops destroyed a weapons cache during a combat patrol in Bala Boluk district, Farah province. The cache contained 29 rocket-propelled grenades, 32 RPG boosters, plastic explosives and one improvised explosive device.

– Afghan Army commandos with the 207th Corps, assisted by coalition forces, destroyed 331 pounds of narcotics discovered in Shindand district, Herat province. The narcotics’ street value was judged at approximately $2 million. An assault rifle and 14 fully-loaded magazines of ammunition also were confiscated.

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Five Killed, 10 Detained in Kandahar; Two Detained in Konar

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 29, 2009

U.S. Forces Afghanistan RSS
Courtesy Story
Date: 04.27.2009

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces killed five militants and detained 12 suspects during early morning operations to disrupt bomb-making and facilitation networks in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

In Zharmi District, Kandahar province, approximately 30 kilometers southwest of Kandahar city, Afghan and coalition forces conducted a complex operation after receiving a tip on the location of Taliban operatives connected to bomb-making and other nefarious activities, including operating a checkpoint in Zharmi District to collect money from local citizens.

When the assault force attempted to search several compounds in the targeted village, they encountered armed militants who did not comply with instructions to leave their buildings. Two men were killed when forces entered the building they would not leave and the men attempted to engage the force with small arms fire. Similarly, on three separate compounds, three other men refused to comply with instructions given by Afghan and coalition forces and were killed in a subsequent engagement.

Without further incident, Afghan and coalition forces searched the remaining compounds, detaining 10 suspects. Despite the careless actions of the militants who needlessly endangered the lives of civilians, forces protected approximately 100 adults and more than 50 children.

In a separate operation in Sarkani (Sirkanay) District, Konar province, approximately 60 kilometers northeast of Jalalabad, Afghan forces with a small element of coalition forces in support, patrolled to a compound where suspected al-Qaida operatives were located. Without incident, forces searched the compound, detaining two suspects associated with attacks against coalition forces in Konar province.

Two women and eight children were protected and forces did not fire any shots.

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Fort Dix Terror Plotters Sentenced

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 29, 2009

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2009 – The last of five defendants found guilty in a terror plot to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., were sentenced today, with four to serve the rest of their lives behind bars and one sentenced to 33 years in prison.

Mohamad Shnewer, who a federal judge described as the “epicenter” of the plot, was sentenced in New Jersey earlier today to life plus 30 years in prison.

Serdar Tatar, a convenience store clerk in Philadelphia who provided the other conspirators a map of Fort Dix, received a 33-year sentence today.

Three brothers involved in the plot — Dritan Duka, 30, Shain Duka, 28, and Eljvir Duka, 25 — received life sentences yesterday without the possibility of parole.

Federal prosecutors said the five men, all Muslim immigrants arrested in Cherry Hill, N.J., in May 2007, were planning to attack Fort Dix and military personnel.

Assistant Attorney General Patrick Rowan said as the guilty verdicts were rendered that they underscore the need for continued vigilance against homegrown terror threats.

Although the defendants weren’t members of an international terror organization, “their involvement in weapons training, their surveillance of domestic targets and their discussions of killing U.S. military personnel posed a serious threat that required the law-enforcement disruption and the prosecutions upheld by the jury today,” he said.

A 16-month FBI investigation led to the suspects’ arrests May 7, 2007, as Dritan and Shain Duka tried to buy three AK-47 assault rifles and four semi-automatic M-16s from a confidential government witness.

“They identified their target, they did their reconnaissance, they had maps, and they were in the process of buying weapons,” Jody Weiss, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Philadelphia, said a day after the arrests.

“Today we dodged a bullet,” Weiss added. “In fact, when you look at the type of weapons this group was trying to purchase, we may have dodged a lot of bullets.”

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Toby Keith Entertains Troops in Afghanistan

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 29, 2009

By Army Capt. Michael Greenberger
American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, April 28, 2009 – Country singer and troop supporter Toby Keith finished up a 15-show tour in Afghanistan yesterday as he drew near the end of his seventh tour with the United Service Organizations.

Service members crowd the stage April 27, 2009, at Bagram Air Field, to catch a photo of Toby Keith during his concert in Afghanistan. This was Keith's seventh tour with the United Service Organizations. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Michael Greenberger

Service members crowd the stage April 27, 2009, at Bagram Air Field, to catch a photo of Toby Keith during his concert in Afghanistan. This was Keith's seventh tour with the United Service Organizations. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Michael Greenberger

Keith spent five days criss-crossing the war-torn country visiting bases large and small in a whirlwind of handshakes, autographs, photo-ops and of course – country music shows.

Whether it’s hundreds of Marines at Camp Bastion or a crowd of thousands at Kandahar Air Field, countless hours of preparation and manpower go into making each show special.

“It’s a three-pronged attack,” said Rachel Tischler, USO vice president of entertainment operations. “The crews get to work setting everything up for the larger shows as most of the band goes to see people at the larger bases. While they are doing that, [Toby] and a few others visit the more remote locations.”

Keith’s tour visited Forward Operating Bases Tillman and Boris, near the Pakistan border, in addition to the larger bases, like FOBs Sharana and Salerno.

“It was important to Toby and the crew to visit as many of the smaller, remote locations as possible,” said Tischler. “Never mind getting entertainers – some of them don’t have running water!”

Keith, was taught early on to respect the military and those who serve in it.

“My father was a soldier. He taught his kids to respect veterans,” said Keith. “It’s that respect and the thank-you that we have a military that’s in place and ready to defend our nation; our freedom.”

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Since 2002, Keith and company have visited war zones, military bases and ships at sea to bring a little levity and light into the lives of those in harm’s way. He loves his job, he said.

“It’s a break from the monotony in their life,” Keith said of his duty to the troops. “They’re under fire and tremendous workloads trying to accomplish their goals, so when we show up, it changes that for a little while. We try to put smiles on their faces.”

According to the roaring crowd in the “clamshell tent” on Bagram, he succeeded.

“The energy level was so high,” said Army Spc. Jennifer Cook. “It brought all the soldiers in, no matter what kind of music they liked.”

Keith’s forte is playing country music. He’s been doing it for more than 23 years. Some of the hits he poured into the night sky over Afghanistan have been staples of country music for years – as well as favorites of those in uniform, such as “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” and “American Soldier.”

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Written after his first visit to Iraq, “American Soldier” is a tribute to service members everywhere. Keith salutes military mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters — ordinary people all over who volunteer to serve their country and give their lives for it if necessary. Keith took many of his first interactions with the military in Iraq, such as a remembrance ceremony for a fallen service member, and turned it into something many could understand.

“Those kinds of things just bore into your soul,” Keith said. “I would have never been able to complete ‘American Soldier’ if it weren’t for the experiences I had.”

The troops appreciate Keith just as much as he appreciated them.

“This show was awesome,” said Air Force Senior Airman Patrick McGuire. “I saw Toby Keith stateside and it was smoky and the crowd was just different. Here, it’s like he was here for us, not just a show. It just felt like he was here for us.”

Keith doesn’t just raise spirits though, he raises awareness too.

“It’s great to be supported by someone in the music business,” Cook said. “It also keeps us on people’s minds back home.”

Keith ended more than an hour of guitar whompin’, foot stompin’ music with a promise he’s echoed over 150 times: “I’ll see you next year.”

After departing Afghanistan, Keith and company head to Italy to finish their seventh USO tour.

(Army Capt. Michael Greenberger serves with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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Joint Forces in Afghanistan Kill Five Militants, Detain 16

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 27, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces killed five militants and detained 16 suspects – including a Taliban commander — during recent operations in Afghanistan.

In Kandahar province’s Zharmi district, Afghan and coalition forces conducted a complex operation after receiving a tip on the location of Taliban operatives. The suspects were connected to bomb-making and other questionable activities, including operating a checkpoint in the district to collect money from local residents.

When the assault force attempted to search several compounds in the targeted village, they encountered armed militants who did not comply with instructions to leave their buildings. Two men were killed when forces entered the building and the men attempted to engage the force with small-arms fire. Similarly, on three separate compounds, three other men refused to comply with instructions given by Afghan and coalition forces and were killed in a subsequent engagement.

A search of the remaining compounds resulted in Afghan and coalition forces detaining 10 suspects.

In a separate operation northeast of Jalalabad in the Sarkani district of Konar province, Afghan forces, with a small element of coalition forces in support, searched a compound where suspected al-Qaida operatives were located. The forces detained two suspects associated with attacks against coalition forces in the province.

In operations yesterday, Afghan army commandos, assisted by coalition forces, captured a Taliban commander in Farah province’s Gulistan district. The detainee has been directly involved with numerous attacks on Afghan and coalition forces in the Gulistan Valley, as well as kidnapping weapons trafficking and facilitating movement of foreign fighters, officials said.

A search of the detainee’s compound uncovered a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with rounds, a machine gun with ammunition, a AK-47 assault rifle with ammunition, a mine and numerous bomb-making materials. The weapons and ammunition were destroyed in place.

In a separate operation yesterday, a coalition precision strike destroyed an anti-aircraft weapon system in Helmand province’s Nad Ali district. Coalition forces learned through villagers that insurgents in the area had obtained a ZPU-2 anti-aircraft gun and were staging it on the back of a pick-up truck for use against coalition aircraft. The ZPU-2 was hidden between two compounds in the Nad Ali district. After ensuring there were no noncombatants in the area, the coalition forces destroyed the weapon system with a precision strike.

In an overnight operation that began April 25, Afghan and coalition forces detained three men in eastern Afghanistan during efforts to capture a militant associated with the Haqqani terrorist network and the Baitullah Mahsud extremist group in Pakistan. In Khowst province, the combined force captured a terrorist known to facilitate suicide attacks against Afghan citizens and coalition forces in Khowst and Paktia provinces. As the targeted individual’s vehicle approached an intersection, Afghan forces signaled the vehicle to stop and successfully called for the passengers to exit the vehicle. Without incident, all occupants complied.

The targeted individual and two men traveling with him were detained. Afghan National Police were called to assist a woman and child who were passengers in the car.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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Pentagon to Release Photos From Detainee Custody Investigations

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 24, 2009

Pentagon to Release Photos From Detainee Custody Investigations
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2009 – The Defense Department soon will release a substantial number of photos associated with concluded past investigations of alleged abuse of detainees, a senior official said here today.

The photos were used as part of internal military investigations conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan, not including the photos used during allegations of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib detention facility in Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

The pending late-May release of the photos comes from an agreement reached between the American Civil Liberties Union, the Justice Department and the Defense Department, Whitman said. The ACLU had sued the U.S. government for release of the photos.

A Justice Department letter filed yesterday in a New York District Court stated that the Defense Department would furnish 21 photographs ordered for release by the court and 23 other images involved in the lawsuit.

Additionally, the Justice Department letter stated, the Defense Department also will release “a substantial number of other images” contained in Army Criminal Investigation Division reports that have been closed. The Defense Department is to furnish all cited images by May 28, the letter said.

A number of the images being released in May were part of more than 60 investigations conducted by the U.S. military between 2003 and January 2006, Whitman said.

Since 2003, more than 400 military members charged with detainee abuse were found to be guilty of some form of misconduct, Whitman said. Punishment, he noted, ranged from imprisonment to bad-conduct discharges, reduction in rank and other types of punitive actions.

Defense Department policy always has advocated humane treatment of detainees, Whitman pointed out.

“We have, obviously, over time, found instances where performance has not matched policy,” Whitman said. “And when the performance hasn’t matched the policy, we’ve held people accountable for their actions.”

“There are a number of [lawsuits] that we’re dealing with for detainee photographs and so on,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said to reporters yesterday during his visit to Camp Lejeune, N.C. “There’s a certain inevitability, I believe, that much of this will eventually come out; much has already come out.”

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Taliban’s Strength in Pakistan Frustrates U.S., Chairman Says

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 24, 2009

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

QALAT, Afghanistan, April 24, 2009 – The Taliban’s growing strength in Pakistan is frustrating to the United States, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answers questions from the traveling media after a meeting with Gov. Mohammad Ashraf Naseri of Afghanistan’s Zabol province at Forward Operating Base Walton, April 24, 2009. Mullen is on a six-day tour of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, escorting a USO tour, meeting with counterparts and visiting troops. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answers questions from the traveling media after a meeting with Gov. Mohammad Ashraf Naseri of Afghanistan’s Zabol province at Forward Operating Base Walton, April 24, 2009. Mullen is on a six-day tour of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, escorting a USO tour, meeting with counterparts and visiting troops. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters traveling with him that Pakistani military leaders are very concerned with the progress of terrorists groups inside Pakistan.

Last month, Pakistani civilian leaders worked out a deal with the Taliban that essentially recognized them in Swat – a tourist area north of Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad. Lately, the terrorists have begun attacking in Besur, a region only 60 miles from the capital.

Yesterday, Mullen visited military leaders in Pakistan, and discussed the situation in the country with them. He said the discussions he had with Pakistani Army Chief of General Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani were more focused on Swat, where the Taliban already are breaking their deal with the Pakistani government. “It was very clear that General Kayani is very concerned about the Taliban activity,” a military official familiar with the talks said.

The United States has continued to offer training and equipment help to the Pakistanis to counter the Taliban threat. “It’s safe to say we want them to do more,” said the official. “The admiral came back from the meetings very concerned and increasingly frustrated with the situation.”

The Pakistani military does understand the seriousness of the situation. While in Pakistan, Mullen observed two Pakistani military divisions going through counterinsurgency training. The two divisions were in the sixth week of a 14-week course. Once done, the units will deploy to the border area. “What they are going to do about Besur or Swat is really a Pakistani civilian decision that hasn’t been made,” Mullen said.

Nothing demonstrates how interconnected Afghanistan and Pakistan are than operations in Afghanistan’s Zabul province. The region is tied together by tribe and family, and the people of the region historically pay no attention to the Durand Line, surveyed by the British in the 1920s, which forms the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The Taliban take full advantage of this situation.

“Our focus on the border since we’ve been here is tied directly to the freedom of movement that the Taliban has, whether it’s farther north in [Regional Command East] or here in the south,” Mullen said. “That’s something that has to be dramatically reduced.”

An effort to stem the flow has to involve Afghanistan, Pakistan and the coalition to be effective, Mullen said. “This is the time of year where their influx is considerable, and Zabol, in particular, is a path they use,” the admiral said.

Mullen met with the governor of Afghanistan’s Zabol province, who has a good grip on the situation despite being in office for less than a month, the admiral said. “I think we can get the security piece right here, and by doing that we can enable the other things that must be done here,” Mullen said.

Within the province and Regional Command South there is very broad agreement on what the challenges are and how to approach them, Mullen said. “Clearly, security is a key issue here,” he said. “But it’s not just security; there are other needs tied to it.” Development, agriculture and governance also are part of a winning strategy, he said.

“I’m very optimistic and buoyed by the spirit and the leadership of the provincial reconstruction team, which is very focused on the needs as well,” he said. “But the challenges are significant. We know what they are. We have to move forward and execute.”

This will mean sacrifice, the chairman acknowledged.

“I saw a sign on one of the [forward operating base] walls today with names of seven American soldiers who lost their lives in this province,” Mullen said.

The U.S. troops understand the challenges, and they are “incredibly patriotic, dedicated to the mission and dedicated to each other,” the chairman said.

The chairman made it a point to visit the provincial reconstruction team in Zabol to highlight the necessary cooperation among many agencies. The soldiers and federal civilians assigned to the team “are at the heart of what really matters, which is development and really helping the Afghan people,” Mullen said. “They are proud and excited about doing what they are doing. It makes me proud and humble to be associated with them and serving with such a great group of people.”

Mullen said he thinks of the sacrifices American servicemembers and their civilian colleagues make. He comes to the area of operations, he added, to thank them for their service and “to better understand what we ask them to do, and then do everything in my power to help them succeed in the missions.”

U.S. servicemembers understand their new strategy. “What struck me was how much our people understand the execution requirements of counterinsurgency,” Mullen said. “I’ve described it as part of our DNA, and a couple of years ago, that just wasn’t the case.”

The troops know that success is not just about combat operations, Mullen said.

“They know it’s about the Afghan people,” he said. “They know it’s about information operations and the messaging and getting out in front of the enemy. They are living and breathing it, rather than just studying it and learning how to execute it. That’s a huge change for me over the past year.”

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Al-Qaida Cannot Sidetrack Progress, Odierno Says

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 24, 2009

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, April 24, 2009 – While al-Qaida is succeeding in launching a few spectacular attacks in Iraq, it cannot succeed in stopping progress, the commander of Multinational Force Iraq said today.

“Obviously, anything that kills a lot of innocent civilians is something we are very concerned about,” Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said. “But I would tell you that the people of Iraq are resilient. They continue to reject al-Qaida. The people abhor the killing of innocent civilians, pilgrims who are here to pray.”

Despite a few spectacular attacks, the number of attacks remains low, Multinational Forces Iraq officials said, though they do raise some concerns about the fragility of security in Iraq. Attacks yesterday hit people who were collecting food for needy families.

“They are going after very innocent civilians, and frankly, the Iraqi people won’t accept it,” Odierno said. Multinational forces will continue to work with the Iraqi government to go after the groups who conduct these attacks, he added.

Suicide-vest attacks are among the most difficult to detect and stop. Yesterday, a woman was holding the hand of a young child as she detonated herself. Today, two more women detonated their vests as they were leaving worship. “Because the security has improved so much, the Iraqis are trying to make it easier to have freedom of movement in Baghdad,” Odierno said. “[Terrorists] take advantage of that.”

Al-Qaida still is attempting to turn back the clock and incite sectarian violence, the general said. “The important thing is that the Iraqis are not talking about sectarian violence” he added. “They are talking about rejecting the individuals who are conducting the attacks. Al-Qaida is not getting the response they want.”

Odierno said the Iraqi government has handled the “Sons of Iraq” civilian security group program well. The government has paid all 92,000 members of the organization for the past two months. In addition, the Council of Ministers passed a bill this week that says that 20 percent of the Sons of Iraq will be moved into Iraq’s security ministries and 80 percent into other government ministries.

“So their plan is to hire 100 percent of these individuals who have participated in this program,” Odierno said. “It’s an extremely positive sign.” The government has budgeted $300 million for the program.

On the operational side, coalition forces are out of the centers of the cities except for Baghdad, where the process continues, and Mosul, where al-Qaida continues to be a problem.

“We continue to execute the strategy,” Odierno said. “We still will have transition teams with the Iraqis. We still have liaison teams at the joint security stations. We will be there to support them with enablers if they need them. We will be available if they ask for our assistance. We will focus on the outskirts of Baghdad and the belts around the big cities.”

In Mosul, the remnants of al-Qaida still operate. Coalition and Iraqi forces conducted operations in Mosul aimed at al-Qaida and, “we’ve had quite a bit of success, but we’re not finished yet,” Odierno said.

Al-Qaida has been broken into very small cells – in Mosul, a few in Diyala and a couple in Baghdad, Odierno said. “But they are small and decentralized, and that what we have to continue to go after,” he added.

Mosul now has a Sunni-led government, and this will make it more difficult for al-Qaida to have the passive support of the people of Mosul, the general said. Additional Iraqi and coalition forces are operating in and around Mosul, and they are clearing the city.

U.S. troops and leaders are doing very well, the general said. “Our leaders are incredibly adaptable,” he said. “And the morale of the soldiers is very good, because they see progress on the ground.”

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Combined Forces in Afghanistan Kill 14 in Six-Hour Battle

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 24, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan forces killed 14 insurgents in a six-hour battle in the Sangin district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province yesterday.

Forces were patrolling in an area known for heavy insurgent activity when they were attacked. The insurgents fired at the forces with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Coalition forces called in close-air support on two enemy fighting positions, killing 14 fighters and injuring one, who later surrendered. Two others also were detained.

No coalition or Afghan forces were injured in the attack.

In other Afghan news, coalition and Afghan forces detained three suspects last night in an operation to capture the leader of bomb-making ring near Kabul.

Forces targeted a residence in the Paghman district of Kabul province, west of the Afghan capital. They searched the residence without incident and detained three men.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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