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Archive for February, 2010

Forces in Afghanistan Arrest Bomb Maker

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 24, 2010

Forces in Afghanistan Arrest Bomb Maker

American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Feb. 24, 2010 – A combined Afghan and international security force arrested a suspected bomb maker after discovering an explosives cache in Afghanistan’s Helmand province yesterday as part of Operation Moshtarak.

The cache consisted of more than 100 pounds of explosive, 220 pounds of ammonium nitrate, an 8 2mm mortar fuse, three ammunition-filled vests, and various explosive components such as anti-tamper switches.

The bomb maker was found with blasting caps on his person. The explosives were destroyed on site.

In other operations yesterday:

— A combined Afghan and international security force searched a vehicle in Helmand province after intelligence reports indicated militant activity. A search of the vehicle indicated a Taliban commander was possibly in a nearby village, which the combined force searched with the assistance of local elders. The security force detained several men for further questioning.

— A combined patrol discovered a weapons cache consisting of 22 mortar rounds in Khost province. The ordnance was destroyed on site.

— In Helmand province, a patrol discovered 15 bags of marijuana totaling more than 200 pounds. The drugs were destroyed.

— A separate patrol discovered a weapons cache while searching an insurgent bunker in Helmand province as part of Operation Moshtarak. The cache consisted of three 107 mm rockets, five rocket-propelled grenades, two anti-personnel charges, an artillery fuse and a hand grenade. The ordnance was destroyed.

— Afghan National Police defused four mines and discovered 110 pounds of explosive materials in Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Kunduz provinces yesterday.

— In an operation conducted in Herat province, Afghan police discovered a machine gun, three mines, three hand grenades, five rocket rounds and 1,150 rounds of rifle ammunition.

— A patrol discovered an explosives cache in Kandahar province. The cache contained nearly 90 pounds of ammonium nitrate, eight 155 mm shell casings, two radios, a dismantled radio, a circuit board and a large spool of wire. The materials were destroyed on site.

(From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news release.)

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Pentagon Updates

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 24, 2010

Operation Moshtarak Update for Feb. 23
The last 24 hours have seen fewer engagements with insurgents. Despite this relative calm, IEDs and insurgent gunmen continue to pose a threat to civilians and security forces.
02.23.10, Courtesy Story

Afghan Campaign Will Be Tough, Petraeus Says
With U.S. forces entering the second week of a 12- to 18-month campaign in Afghanistan, the general in charge of U.S. forces in the region acknowledged yesterday that the way ahead will be tough.
02.22.10, Story by Carmen Gleason

Operation Moshtarak Update for Feb. 21
Clearance operations continue to make progress and the operation is firmly on track. In Nad-e Ali, the combined force encountered limited small arms engagements throughout the area. On the west side of the city, shuras continue to determine which compounds can be used as patrol bases. Engineers continue upgrading roads in order to enable the effective delivery of stabilization supplies. Patrols in the eastern portion of the operating area continue to enable freedom of movement on local roads.
02.21.10, Courtesy Story

Afghan National Police Confiscates Explosive Material, Weapons
The Afghan national police discovered 200 kilograms of explosive material in Kandahar province Feb. 19 and also discovered and defused four IEDs from the Uruzgan province.
02.20.10, Courtesy Story

Operation Moshtarak Update for Feb. 19
Fighting remains difficult in the northeast and west of Marjeh, but insurgent activity is not limited to those areas. ISAF and Afghan forces remain committed to reducing the possibilities of civilian and combined force casualties. The commitment to enduring security that will make the real difference to the Afghan people and will allow the expansion of governance from Lashkar Gah to Marjeh and other areas of Nad-e Ali that have not been under government control. A visible demonstration of this long-term commitment is the deployment of Afghan gendarmerie into Nad-e Ali and parts of Marjeh.
02.19.10, Courtesy Story

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Forces in Afghanistan Kill, Detain Militants

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 22, 2010

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 – Combined Afghan and international forces in Afghanistan killed or detained militants and seized enemy weapons in recent operations, military officials reported.

In Logar province yesterday, a combined force detained a militant while pursuing a Taliban facilitator.

In operations Feb. 20:

— During the search of a compound in Nangarhar province, a combined force captured a Taliban facilitator associated with several rocket attacks on Afghan and coalition forces. When confronted, he identified himself. Several weapons, including automatic rifles and ammunition, and a quantity of drugs were found.

— A combined force detained several suspected militants while pursuing a facilitator in eastern Kandahar city.

— A combined force killed several militants while pursuing a Taliban commander in Kandahar province. The force targeted a pair of vehicles after reports of militant activity. Militants in the vehicle attempted to fire at the combined force. The force returned fire, killing them. A search of the vehicles revealed assault rifles and pistols.

— A patrol detained several suspected insurgents and discovered a weapons cache in Helmand province. The cache consisted of four hand grenades, two assault rifles, six magazines of ammunition, one carbine rifle, 300 large-caliber machine-gun rounds and bomb components. The weapons were buried in what is believed to be an insurgent staging area. The suspects all tested positive for explosive residue and are being held for questioning by Afghan forces.

— A patrol detained a suspected insurgent after seeing him digging in a ditch in Uruzgan province. After investigating, the force discovered five mortar rounds and a rocket where the man was digging.

— A combined force detained a man after the search of a compound in Nuristan province revealed weapons and Afghan military uniforms. The weapons consisted of a 107 mm rocket, three hand grenades, assorted explosive components and 100 small-arms rounds.

— A force searched a vehicle and compound in Helmand province after intelligence information indicated militant activity. Several weapons were seen in the vehicle as the force approached. One of the occupants pointed a weapon at the force. The force engaged, killing several militants. A search of the car revealed multiple assault rifles, a machine gun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. A nearby compound also was searched, resulting in the discovery of several more rocket-propelled grenade rounds, grenades, chest racks and a handheld radio of a type often used by insurgents for communications. Several suspected militants in the compound were also detained.

— In another Helmand operation, a security force searched a compound after intelligence information indicated militant activity. The force detained several suspected insurgents during the search.

— In Kandahar province, a force searched a compound after reports of militant activity. During the search, the force captured a Taliban facilitator responsible for weapons and ammunition buys and arranging suicide-bombing attacks. A few other insurgents also were detained. The force recovered multiple weapons, including two grenades and a large amount of U.S. dollars.

In operations Feb. 19:

— Afghan police discovered 440 pounds of explosive material in Kandahar province and discovered and defused four homemade bombs in Uruzgan province.

— Afghan police attacked a group of insurgents who attempted to place a roadside mine in Kandahar province. One insurgent was killed, and two were arrested. A rifle and a homemade bomb were found on them.

— Combined forces searched a compound in Paktika province and found a cache of ammunition including five machine guns, a mortar round, a rocket-propelled grenade, 50 boxes of machine-gun rounds, 17 homemade bombs and 15 rocket rounds.

— Afghan police confiscated 255,000 afghanis in Afghan currency, five mobile phones, 10 rocket rounds, five magazines, four rifles and nine military uniforms in Takhar province.

— A combined force captured two Taliban insurgents in Helmand province. One of the captured men is suspected of being a Taliban commander involved with the facilitation of explosive components and the planning of Taliban attacks.

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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Afghanistan Operations Seize Suspects, Weapons

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 17, 2010

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2010 – Combined Afghan and international forces uncovered weapons caches and detained suspected insurgents during multiple operations in Afghanistan today.

A security force searched a compound in Logar province after reports indicated militant activity. While searching the compound, the force captured a Taliban subcommander responsible for the movement of weapons and leading explosive attacks against Afghan and coalition troops.

In another operation today, a force captured a few suspected insurgents in the Nimroz province while in pursuit of a Taliban commander operating in southern Farah province. The force detained an individual in an empty field on suspicion of supporting militant activities.

After detaining the individual, the force searched a nearby compound after reports indicated militant activity there and detained a pair of additional suspected insurgents. The force discovered Taliban paraphernalia and a type of handheld radio often used by militants for communication.

In Kandahar province today, a patrol found a weapons cache containing two artillery rounds, two grenades, an anti-tank mine, ammunition and a radio. The munitions will be destroyed.

In operations yesterday:

— A security force searched a compound in Nimroz province after getting reports of militant activity. The force detained several militants, found weapons and a large amount of explosives and detonators during their search. Coalition experts detonated the explosives in place.

— The Afghan National Police discovered 55 pounds of explosive material in Kandahar province. Two insurgents were arrested. An investigation has been launched into the case.

— A combined Afghan and international security force found and destroyed a cache of 18 mortar rounds, a grenade launcher and bomb-making materials in Helmand.

— Afghan police discovered and diffused three mines in Uruzgan province. The remote-controlled mines had been placed by insurgents in different districts of the province.

— A combined force on a routine patrol found four 40-pound bags of opium in Helmand, along with an assault rifle with ammunition magazines, a bayonet and a letter from an anti-Afghan-government organization.

— An international patrol observed a group of suspicious individuals near the border in eastern Afghanistan. After receiving positive confirmation that the group consisted of insurgents, the patrol requested air support. Coalition aircraft dropped precision-guided munitions on insurgent locations. More than a dozen insurgents reportedly were killed.

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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Iraqis Detain Weapons Dealer, Bomb Maker

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 17, 2010

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2010 – Iraqi security forces arrested a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq weapons dealer and two other suspected terrorists during a series of combined operations in Baghdad today.

Intelligence reports led Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors to a home in western Baghdad in search of a terrorist wanted for building and distributing silencers for pistols used to conduct robberies and assassinations. Based on incriminating evidence and information gathered during the operation, forces arrested the suspected weapons dealer.

Al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists use weapons equipped with silencers while robbing financial institutions, businesses and private citizens to acquire funds for attack operations, U.S. officials report.

In addition to robberies, al-Qaida recently has claimed responsibility for assassinating Iraqi officials, security forces and civilians as part of its attempts to disrupt the national election process, said U.S. officials. Members of al-Qaida in Iraq also admit to conducting robberies and claim to use stolen funds to purchase illegal weapons, explosive material and bomb-making components, officials said.

In southwestern Baghdad, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched a home for a suspected terrorist leader believed to be responsible for planning and coordinating robberies of financial institutions and private businesses in Baghdad. The man also allegedly is involved in car-bomb attacks and is connected to terrorists responsible for building homemade bombs.

The security team discovered circuitry used to make explosives. Information obtained during a preliminary investigation led forces to arrest a man allegedly linked to the leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq robbery cell and one other suspected associate.

In a separate operation, Iraqi forces arrested seven suspected terrorists west of Kirkuk as part of a concerted effort to prevent future car-bombing attacks throughout the country.

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

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Iran Continues to Subvert Iraq, Officials Say

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 17, 2010

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2010 – As national elections in Iraq loom on the horizon, Iran continues to subvert its western neighbor’s security and political infrastructure, top American military officials said.

Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the top American commander in Iraq, said Iran aims to foment violence in Iraq and to play diplomatic and other nonmilitary roles that call into question Iran’s respect for Iraqi sovereignty.

“Iran clearly has a strategy that goes across lethal aims, diplomatic aims and then soft-power aims — i.e., influencing people through investment in the economy — and into some other practices inside of Iraq,” the general said yesterday at the Army and Navy Club here.

Despite success in recent years against Iranian-backed militias operating in Iraq, several new groups have formed that are receiving support from within Iran, Odierno told audience members at the event sponsored by the Institute for the Study of War.

Though down from peak levels, Iranian-backed violence is being generated in part by two groups — Kataib Hezbollah and the Promised Day Brigade — that gain funding and military expertise inside Iran before exporting their operations across its western border, the general said.

“We still have EFPs explode just about every day in Iraq,” said Odierno, referring to what the military calls “explosively formed penetrators,” an especially deadly type of roadside bomb that’s designed to pierce armor and is believed to have Iranian origins. “We still uncover Iranian rockets and other goods that are made, and individuals that are trained, in Iran to conduct attacks against both U.S. and Iraqi security forces.”

Asked whether Iran respects Iraqi sovereignty, Odierno replied, “I would say, since they conduct and support lethal actions inside of Iraq, it’s clear that they don’t.”

As the March 7 Iraqi national election date nears, concerns have mounted that Iran, a Shiite Muslim country, has influenced a decision by Iraqi lawmakers to bar several hundred politicians from the ballots on the grounds that they are linked to Saddam Hussein’s Baath party. The decision primarily disqualified Sunni politicians seeking office.

Two Iraqis involved in blocking the candidates have ties to the Iranian government in Tehran and are attempting to influence the outcome of the Iraqi election, Odierno said. The two men had several meetings in Iran, he said, including one with an Iranian whom the United States placed on the terrorist watch list for a bombing in Kuwait in the 1980s.

One is Ahmed Chalabi, who reportedly is perceived as having supplied faulty intelligence in 2003 before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The other is Ali Faisal al-Lami, who was arrested and subsequently freed after being suspected of masterminding a bomb attack on American and Iraqi officials.

“[Lami] and Chalabi clearly are influenced by Iran. We have direct intelligence that tells us that,” Odierno said. “We believe they’re absolutely involved in influencing the outcome of the election, and it’s concerning that they’ve been able to do that over time.”

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent days expressed concern about the increased levels of violence in Iraq as the election date nears, and he also has denounced Iran’s reach into areas throughout the Middle East, including Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Cairo after Iran recently announced it would increase its levels of uranium enrichment, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen — the top U.S. military officer — characterized Tehran as “hard to predict.”

“I remain extremely concerned about them as a country — not their people, but their leadership,” Mullen said in Feb. 15 remarks, “and the recent rhetoric concerning the increased enhancement in terms of nuclear fuel, their reach to Hezbollah, their reach to Hamas, their reach into Yemen, their reach into even Afghanistan, as well as Iraq.”

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Afghan, International Force Kills Enemy Fighters

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 12, 2010

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2010 – An Afghan-international joint security force killed more than 20 enemy militants and captured more than five others during an operation today in Afghanistan’s Farah province in pursuit of a Taliban commander believed to responsible for organizing suicide-bombing attacks.

The combined force targeted a series of compounds in Farah’s Baghwa district near Tali Zardad after intelligence information indicated militant activity.

As the combined force approached one of the buildings in the targeted compound, a militant hiding inside tossed a grenade at them. After calling for the militant to surrender, the combined force attempted to enter the building, and the militant detonated a suicide vest he was wearing. No members of the combined force were harmed by the blast.

After the explosion, a large number of armed militants attempted to maneuver on the combined force. The combined force engaged the militants, killing more than 20 and wounding one. At least five other militants were captured and were detained along with the injured individual, who received medical treatment for his injuries.

In addition to the suicide vest and grenade used by the first militant, the combined force found a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, RPG rounds, grenades, a machine gun, multiple assault rifles and ammunition magazines, bomb components, handheld radios of a type often used by militants for communications and a heavy machine gun.

In the Mohammad Agha district of Logar province last night, a combined force searched a compound after intelligence indicated militant activity and captured a Taliban subcommander with ties to several militant networks believed to be responsible for bombing attacks.

Yesterday, a combined patrol discovered four mortar rounds and a 55 mm shell in one area and three 155 mm Russian-era artillery rounds in another area of Kandahar City.

No Afghan civilians were harmed during these operations, officials said.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force are conducting a joint investigation into the suspicious death of four Afghan civilians found in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktia province.

A combined force of Afghan and international troops last night found the bound and gagged bodies of two women and the bodies of two men during an operation in the province’s Gardez district.

The force went to a compound near the village of Khatabeh after intelligence confirmed militant activity there. Several insurgents engaged the force in a firefight and were killed. Subsequently, a large number of men, women and children left the compound, and were detained by the force. Members of the combined force found the bodies inside.

The force immediately secured the area and requested medical support for a combined forensic investigation.

Eight men were detained for further questioning.

“ISAF continually works with our Afghan partners to fight criminals and terrorists who do not care about the life of civilians,” ISAF spokesman Canadian army Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said. “The Interior Ministry of Afghanistan has sent a high-ranking delegation today to jointly investigate this incident. We will cooperate fully in this joint investigation and provide any assistance the Interior Ministry requires.”

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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Forces in Iraq Target Iranian-backed Terrorists

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 12, 2010

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2010 – Iraqi forces working with U.S. advisors have arrested more than two dozen suspected terrorists and killed others during a series of operations in the past two days to break up terrorist groups in Iraq, military officials reported.

In the largest sweep, Iraqi Forces today arrested 22 suspected terrorists with the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group during operations with U.S. forces targeting a weapons-smuggling and rocket-attack network operating in rural villages southeast of Baghdad near the Iranian border.

An unknown number of suspected Kataib Hezbollah terrorists were killed during the operation, officials said.

Intelligence reports led Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors to the village of Ali ash Sharqi, 160 miles southeast of Baghdad, in search of weapons caches and smugglers loyal to Kataib Hezbollah.

While approaching the village, the team was fired upon by people dispersed in several homes. Members of the team returned fire, killing the perpetrators. Local authorities transported the bodies to an Iraqi medical facility in the area. While the number of casualties has not yet been confirmed, officials said, initial reports indicate five people were killed.

During the engagement, one suspect fled on foot, but was apprehended in a nearby field. The suspect suffered injuries while fleeing and was evacuated to a nearby medical facility for treatment.

The team continued the operation and arrested 12 suspected Kataib Hezbollah terrorists believed to be smuggling and stockpiling Iranian-made weapons near homes in Ali ash Sharqi.

In Ali al Gharbi, a village 145 miles southeast of Baghdad, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched with warrants for members of Kataib Hezbollah who conduct assassinations, extort civilians and local Iraqi businesses, and transport weapons from Iran into southern Iraq.

They searched several homes and found electric circuits used to detonate improvised explosive devices, several assault rifles and military equipment. Iraqi forces arrested 10 suspected Kataib Hezbollah weapons smugglers believed involved in rocket attacks against security forces.

Iraqi and U.S. intelligence indicates a recent increase in smuggling by members of Kataib Hezbollah, who then stockpile weapons and explosives in Iraqi communities for future attacks.

Kataib Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for rocket attacks aimed at security forces working to secure populated areas. Combined security operations today along the Iranian border were expected to disrupt Kataib Hezbollah’s efforts to transport rockets, explosives and other weapons into Iraq, officials said.

In other operations in Iraq, Iraqi forces arrested five suspected terrorists today during two operations in northern Iraq targeting two al-Qaida in Iraq bombing cell leaders.

In Rashidiyah, five miles northwest of Mosul, a combined team searched a home for a suspected leader of an al-Qaida in Iraq explosives cell that carries out attacks throughout the region. Based on evidence and information gathered during the operation, Iraqi forces arrested three suspected criminal associates of the wanted man.

In an operation in Baqouba, 32 miles northeast of Baghdad, the Iraqi 3rd Emergency Response Unit and U.S. advisors searched two homes for a wanted al-Qaida in Iraq leader in Diyala province. The terrorist group is responsible for IED attacks, assassinations and kidnappings in the area.

Information gathered at the scene led Iraqi police to arrest two suspected criminal associates of the wanted terrorist.

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

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Iraqi Forces Capture Terrorist Leader, Others

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 11, 2010

American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Feb. 11, 2010 – Iraqi Security Forces captured an explosives and assassination-cell leader and four additional suspected terrorists today during three operations here and in northern Iraq to suppress al-Qaida in Iraq, military officials said.

In western Baghdad, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched two residential buildings with court warrants for two members – one a leader — of an AQI cell responsible for numerous assassinations and improvised explosive device attacks in the region.

Iraqi Security Forces identified and arrested both men and a suspected criminal accomplice based on preliminary questioning and evidence collected at the scene.

During a separate security operation in Abu Ghraib, about ten miles west of Baghdad, ISF and U.S. advisors searched a residential building for a suspected terrorist cell member who builds and employs IEDs in coordination with AQI, targeting security forces in Iraq.

The security team arrested the suspect after finding numerous electronic components used to make IEDs and IED initiators in his apartment and an adjacent workshop.

In a third operation last night, in a rural area south of Kirkuk, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched a building for a suspected AQI member who provides safe haven for visiting AQI leaders.

Evidence collected at the scene led Iraqi police to arrest a suspected criminal associate of the warranted man.

(From a Joint Forces Iraq news release.)

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Forces Remove Two Taliban Commanders From Fight

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 11, 2010

American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Feb. 11, 2010 – Afghan and international forces captured one Taliban commander and killed another as part of multiple operations across Afghanistan last night, military officials reported.

A combined Afghan-international force searched a compound in the Wali Mohammad Shaheed district of Ghazni province after intelligence indicated militant activity there. During the search, the force captured a Taliban commander and another suspected insurgent.

Meanwhile, another combined force using intelligence information stopped a vehicle in north Helmand province’s Washer district. As the force approached the vehicle, the driver, who was the sole occupant, drew an AK-47 and pointed at them. The combined force then engaged and killed him. The driver was a Taliban commander responsible for directing attacks, and procuring weapons and explosives for several insurgent networks.

In another operation in Helmand last night, a combined force searched a small compound in a rural area in the Reg-e Khan Neshin district after intelligence confirmed militant activity there. During the search, the force detained several suspected
militants and found several rocket motors.

In other operations last night:

– In Kandahar, an Afghan-international force searched a compound in the Arghandab district after intelligence indicated militant activity there. The force captured a small group of insurgents, including a Taliban subcommander responsible for weapons trafficking and attacks against coalition and Afghan troops. The force found several weapons, including automatic rifles.

– In Khost, a combined force searched a compound in the Sabari district after intelligence found militant activity. The force detained several insurgents and found multiple weapons, including automatic rifles and a large amount of ammunition.

– In Zabul, an Afghan-international force searched a compound in a rural area west of Qalat City after intelligence confirmed militant activity. The force captured a Taliban subcommander involved in small-arms and improvised explosive device attacks on coalition and Afghan troops. The force also recovered multiple weapons, including automatic rifles and pistols.

No Afghan civilians were harmed during the operations.

(From an International Joint Command-Afghanistan news release.)

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