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Archive for May, 2009

Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill 35 Militants, Wound 13 Others

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 30, 2009

American Forces Press Service

KABUL, May 29, 2009 – Afghan soldiers, advised by coalition forces, killed 35 militants and wounded 13 others in the Deh Chopan district of Afghanistan’s Zabul province yesterday, military officials reported.

The Afghan-led force was conducting an early morning combat reconnaissance patrol when the convoy came under heavy fire from militants using small arms and mortars. The combined forces returned fire and requested air support, killing 35 and wounding 13. The remaining militants retreated, and medical personnel treated the wounded enemy fighters, who were taken into Afghan National Army custody.

No Afghan security forces, coalition forces or civilian casualties were reported.

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

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Troops in Afghanistan Kill More Than 30 Insurgents

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 30, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces killed more than 30 militants in two separate operations in Afghanistan today, military officials said.

Coalition and Afghan forces killed at least 29 militants during a fierce firefight at a suspected foreign fighter camp in Paktika province, military officials said.

In the mountainous region near the Pakistan border, combined forces raided the enemy encampment, where intelligence sources indicated a senior Haqqani network leader was plotting future attacks in the area.

Dozens of well-armed militants began firing on the combined force to repel the assault. Afghan and coalition forces returned fire, engaging enemies located both in heavily fortified positions and inside the compound. Military officials underscored that the combined ground force was under fire when it called for air strikes against the enemy.

At least six militants detonated suicide vests, slaying only themselves during the fight, and military officials said multiple enemies killed in the firefight were found with grenades that had been rigged to detonate upon disruption. Troops also discovered stockpiles of weapons after the raid.

During one blast, a coalition member suffered minor wounds. No civilians were injured in the operation, military officials said.

In a separate operation in Farah province in western Afghanistan, Afghan commandos and coalition forces killed two militants.

As the Afghan-led force conducted a combat reconnaissance patrol, it encountered militants armed with an assault rifle, machine gun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher riding on a motorcycle.

The patrol engaged the militants with small-arms fire, killing both, military officials said.

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

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Combined Forces Kill Five, Detain 10 in Afghanistan

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 27, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces killed five suspects and detained 10 during operations throughout Afghanistan today.

Combined forces conducting operations in northern Khost province saw a vehicle turn abruptly toward a security element. Afghan forces used verbal commands and gestures in an attempt to stop the vehicle. When the driver continued approaching, Afghan forces fired warning shots, but the driver was undeterred.

After exhausting all nonlethal measures, Afghan and coalition forces engaged the vehicle, killing the driver who was the only occupant.

In a rural village southwest of Kabul, a combined force raided a compound to capture a Haqqani terror network commander responsible for coordinating bombing attacks in nearby Logar province.

When forces entered the targeted compound, Afghan troops called out for all noncombatants to come out. About 30 women and children complied and were moved to a safe area. In one building, forces encountered armed men who had barricaded themselves. Four militants were killed in the subsequent engagement. Five suspects were detained without further incident.

In Khost city, during a separate operation to disrupt militant operations in eastern Afghanistan, a combined force patrolled to a neighborhood to capture insurgents associated with al-Qaida. Afghan forces led the search of a building with the cooperation of the residents, detained five suspected militants without incident and removed two grenades found in the building.

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

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U.S., Iraqi Forces Detain 4, Find Weapons in Central Iraq

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 26, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2009 – Coalition and Iraqi forces detained four suspected insurgents and found weapons in recent operations in central Iraq, U.S. military officials reported.

Iraqi and coalition forces yesterday detained a suspect in Baghdad’s Mansour district after discovering an assortment of weapons in his home. The raid was initiated from a tip given to Iraqi forces by a local resident. The search turned up three artillery rounds, two rockets and a bag filled with metal ball bearings, all which may be used to build homemade bombs, military officials said.

Also in Baghdad, Iraqi forces arrested a man believed to be in charge of a suicide-bomber network operating in the area. The suspect reportedly recruits and trains women to be suicide bombers and was taken into custody after Iraq’s Central Investigating Court issued a warrant for his arrest, officials said.

Just north of Baghdad May 17 in Diyala province, Iraqi and coalition forces detained two suspected insurgents. The men are believed responsible for kidnapping local residents and targeting security forces with roadside bombs and small-arms attacks, officials said.

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U.S., Afghan Forces Kill 84, Detain 14 in Combat Operations

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 26, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan forces killed 84 militants and detained 14 more in recent operations throughout Afghanistan, U.S. military officials reported.

Afghan and coalition forces killed 13 enemy fighters today in an ongoing operation in Logar province’s Kharwar district. The joint forces were searching a compound when they spotted several groups of armed fighters closing in. An initial coalition airstrike killed four, and a follow-up airstrike killed nine more, military officials said.

In operations yesterday:

— Afghan and coalition forces killed eight militants in Oruzgan province’s Deh Rawood district after the men attacked the joint reconnaissance patrol with machinegun and large-caliber munitions fire. The joint force returned fire with small-arms and mortar fire, killing all eight insurgents. Three Afghan policemen and two coalition troops were wounded in the attack but are in stable condition at a coalition medical facility, officials said.

— In Helmand province’s Nadi Ali district and Lashkar Gah, Afghan and coalition forces killed three insurgents and detained six suspected Taliban. The operation was to capture a Taliban commander allegedly responsible for orchestrating bomb-making operations and for using violence to intimidate local residents to cooperate. One enemy fighter was killed in a building when coalition forces noticed he was wearing a suicide vest. Two more were killed after trying to shield themselves with a woman and child. Six others were detained without force. A woman and child were wounded by ricochet bullets during the incident but sustained non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

— In Helmand province’s Sangin district, Afghan and coalition forces found and destroyed a weapons and narcotics cache during a raid. The search resulted in 55 pounds of heroin, 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate liquid, 50 gallons of bomb-making materials and seven mortars, officials said.

In Khost province May 24, Afghan and coalition forces detained four suspected foreign fighters during a raid on several suspected al-Qaida facilities. The suspects are believed to be tied to the recruitment of Kuwaiti and Pakistani extremists, officials said.

In operations May 23:

— Afghan army commandos and coalition forces concluded a four-day operation in Helmand province’s Nadi Ali district, killing 60 enemy fighters. The joint forces evacuated innocent bystanders from the Loy Cherah Bazaar before cordoning off the area to destroy the weapons and narcotics that were found. Coalition airstrikes destroyed more than 16,000 kilograms of opium, 200 kilograms of processed heroin, 180 kilograms of hashish and 75,000 kilograms of poppy seeds. Also, bomb-making materials, including 27,000 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, 700 gallons of diesel fuel, six pressure plate triggers, and three explosive device battery systems, were destroyed. Weapons found and destroyed were 44 blocks of plastic explosives and 120 loaded ammunition vests, officials said.

— In Ghazni province’s Ghazni district, Afghan and coalition forces captured an alleged Taliban leader and two associates believed to be involved in weapons trafficking, officials said.

— In Logar province’s Baraki district, Afghan and coalition forces detained a suspected militant in an attempt to capture a Taliban leader responsible for a May 12 attack on two government buildings in Khost province. That attack resulted in 10 suicide bombers killing eight innocent civilians and allegedly wounding the deputy governor, officials said.

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This We’ll Defend

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 23, 2009

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Troops in Afghanistan Kill Nearly 50 Militants

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 22, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan troops have killed nearly 50 militants, detained three and seized drugs in ongoing operations in Afghanistan this week.

In an update published today, military officials reported that Afghan commandos and coalition forces have killed 47 militants, including 13 in air strikes this morning, during ongoing operations in Helmand province.

The combined forces launched the joint operation in the city of Marjeh in the province’s Nad Ali district on May 19 to disrupt activities in a key militant stronghold and narcotics hub. Over the past four days, troops have seized bomb-making materials, weapons and hundreds of thousands of pounds of narcotics, military officials said.

“This will have a significant financial and logistical impact on the insurgency in southern Afghanistan,” said U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Army Col. Greg Julian. “The commandos have done a phenomenal job and far exceeded the expectation for this operation.”

Combined forces killed one person and detained three others in an operation in Helmand province today.

During a raid on a compound in Lashkar Gah, where intelligence indicated militants were located, troops encountered a man attempting to flee. Military officials said he ignored repeated warnings and maneuvered on troops, who killed him. Forces detained three suspects in the operation.

In a joint operation May 20, combined forces killed the top militant commander in the Andar district of Ghazni province, military officials said.

Abdul Baki, who was heavily armed with rifles and hand grenades, attacked the Afghan police with small-arms fire as they entered his residence. Baki wounded one coalition forces member before being killed.

“The [Afghan National Police’s] termination of this commander will significantly decrease the ability of the militants in Ghazni to carry out their crimes against humanity,” a coalition spokesman said.

Baki commanded a cell of 20 to 30 fighters responsible for attacks against coalition and Afghan forces and government officials. During the operation, troops discovered 50 voter registration cards Baki had stolen from villagers ahead of the upcoming August election, military officials said.

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

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Coalition, Afghan Forces Kill 25 Militants, Detain Seven

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 21, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan operations in the past 24 hours have left 25 enemy fighters dead and seven in custody.

In the city of Marjeh in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, forces killed 16 enemy fighters and confiscated and destroyed drugs, drug-refining materials and weapons.

Security forces there launched an operation to secure the bazaar in Marjeh, thought to be a militant stronghold and hub of narcotics processing for southern Afghanistan. Nearly 33,000 pounds of various high-grade narcotics, including black tar opium, heroin and morphine, were destroyed. Forces also found heroin-refining products, including nearly 16,000 pounds of poppy seeds. Forces also found several thousand pounds of bomb-making materials packaged into gallon-size drums and prepared for use in car bombs.

It was the second-largest narcotics find during coalition operations in Afghanistan. In July, forces destroyed a 260-ton stockpile of hashish with a street value of about $350 million in Kandahar province.

At the bazaar, forces uncovered two “war rooms” stocked with maps, communication equipment, Russian-made night-vision goggles and U.S. military vehicle parts. They also found weapons, including 10 rocket-propelled grenades, a launcher, six mortars and a number of small-arms munitions.

Also in Marjeh, coalition and Afghan forces killed two militants and detained six suspects in operations early today.

Security forces cleared several compounds there targeting a network known to attack security forces. Two men were killed and six surrendered in the operation.

Opium seeds were found and destroyed at the compounds.

Elswehere, seven militants were killed in a firefight last night and one suspect was detained in Ghazni province.

Security forces targeted a mid-level Taliban commander in the village of Spedar, thought to be responsible for leading attacks against forces in the east. Forces came under fire when approaching the village. They returned fire and called in air support. No coalition or Afghan forces were killed. Following the gun battle, forces searched for and caught the wanted commander.

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

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Mullen Urges Emphasis on ‘Soft Power’ in Foreign Policy

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 21, 2009

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2009 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff advocated a “whole-of-government approach” to foreign policy in a speech here last night, urging more funding for nonmilitary departments’ roles overseas.

“I believe we should be more willing to break this cycle, and say when armed forces may not always be the best choice to take the lead,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told a Nixon Center audience.

Mullen said civilian agencies representing American “soft power” — the Departments of State, Justice, Commerce and Agriculture — deserve more money and support than they currently receive, and should play an enlarged role internationally.

The chairman’s remarks align with those made by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who has warned against a “creeping militarization” of U.S. foreign policy. In a speech in June, the secretary said diplomacy and development should lead American efforts abroad.

“Broadly speaking, when it comes to America’s engagement with the rest of the world, it is important that the military is — and is clearly seen to be — in a supporting role to civilian agencies,” Gates said.

Mullen echoed Gates, saying that the U.S. military should be “just as bold in providing options when they don’t involve our participation or our leadership.” He added that this notion should apply even when alternative options are unpopular, or when they demand resources be transferred from the military.

The Defense Department’s fiscal 2009 budget was about $650 billion, compared to the State Department’s reported budget of about $11.5 billion.

“As an equal partner in government, I want to be able to transfer resources to my other partners when they need them,” Mullen said. “And we need to reallocate roles and resources in a way that places our military as an equal among many in government, as an enabler, a true partner.”

During his international travels, Mullen said, the message is clear that there is a strong desire to work with the United States.

“Most of the world wants a stronger relationship, and a deeper mutual understanding with the United States,” he said. “We have a great opportunity right now to seize this moment in history, by enabling all aspects of our power and influence, as a force for peace.”

The chairman said the military has effectively served the role of ambassador when called upon to do so.

“But our most effective ambassadors of peace in the future will not be those who wear uniforms, or bear arms,” he said. “They will be our civilians.”

Biographies:
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

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Gates Says Taliban ‘Overreached’ in Pakistan Offensive

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 21, 2009

Gates Says Taliban ‘Overreached’ in Pakistan Offensive
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2009 – The Taliban “overreached” in their offensive in Pakistan’s Buner district, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today in Kabul.

The secretary met with leaders and troops in Afghanistan, and then held a news conference.

“We are entering a critical period with the deployment of significantly more American forces, as well as the upcoming Afghan presidential election,” Gates said. Afghan reporters asked Gates what the Taliban actions in neighboring Pakistan portended for Afghanistan.

“I think that the Taliban in Pakistan overreached with their offensive in Buner district, coming within dozens of kilometers of Islamabad,” Gates said. “It served as an alarm for the Pakistani government that these violent extremists in the western part of Pakistan are a significant danger to the government of Pakistan.”

Gates said Pakistan has taken significant military action against the Taliban in Buner over the past week, as the Pakistani government and people realize an agreement between the government and the Taliban in the Swat Valley has failed, Gates said.

“I personally have been very satisfied with the strong response that the Pakistani government and army have taken in response to this,” the secretary said. “I think there is very little chance of the Taliban in Pakistan achieving a level of success that will give them access to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.” Gates said the reaction of the Pakistani army shows recognition of the danger that exists in the western part of the country.

American troops will not enter Pakistan from Afghanistan to challenge the Taliban, Gates said.

“Our goal is to work with Pakistan army and Pakistani government as they deal with this problem, and we are doing all that we can to help them,” he said.

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