WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2010 - NATO's International Security Assistance Force condemned today's indiscriminate insurgent improvised-explosive-device attack in Afghanistan's Helmand province that killed at least 10 Afghan civilians and injured several more, military officials reported.
"This despicable attack blatantly targeted Afghan civilians. We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the murdered civilians, and we wish for a hasty recovery for all those injured by this attack," said Navy Rear Admiral Vic Beck, ISAF director of public affairs. "We will continue to focus our efforts to assist the Afghan government in bringing those responsible to justice."
The IED exploded in a crowded area in the Nahr-e Saraj district. Afghan security forces and ISAF personnel responded to the blast scene to provide medical assistance and evacuate wounded.
In other Afghanistan news, Afghan and coalition forces yesterday detained a key Taliban facilitator linked to the murder of a local Afghan in March in Kandahar province. The Taliban facilitator also was responsible for supplying, planning and reporting attacks against coalition forces. Four additional suspects were detaining during the operation that was conducted in the Kandahar district.
Evidence at the site linked the man to a murdered Afghan found in March in the Zharay district of the province. The murdered man was found with a Taliban night letter stating, "People working with Americans will be killed and they have no right to complain." Night letters are a Taliban tactic used to intimidate local Afghans. The letters, bearing the Taliban letterhead, deliver threats of death and harassment to locals who either refuse to support terrorist efforts or maintain support of coalition efforts, or both.
"We will not let these senseless murders go without reprisal," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Patrick Hynes, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "We will continue to track down and capture those responsible for crimes against local citizens who are standing up for a terror-free life."
The joint security team conducted the operation in the hours of darkness to minimize the risk to local citizens. No women or children were injured or detained during this operation. The security forces conducted the operation without firing their weapons.
In other news yesterday:
-- Afghan and coalition forces targeted a Taliban leader in Kunduz province who has key ties to Afghanistan- and Pakistan-based Taliban leadership, detaining several suspected insurgents during a joint security operation. The Taliban leader has direct ties to the Baghlan province Taliban network and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Kunduz and Pakistan. He teaches affiliates how to build IEDs and also purchases and distributes IED-making materials. He works in the province with autonomy, reporting directly to the Taliban shadow governor. Forces followed leads to a series of buildings in the Kunduz district. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call occupants out of the buildings peacefully before conducting a search. Several men were detained after initial questioning. The joint security team conducted the operation in the hours of darkness to minimize the risk to local citizens. No women or children were injured or detained during this operation. The security forces conducted the operation without firing their weapons.
-- ISAF officials confirmed that Sayid Rahman, a Taliban senior leader, was killed during a precision airstrike targeting a group of armed insurgents in Pachir wa Agam district in Nangarhar province. Sayid Rahman was the senior leader in a group responsible for planning and conducting attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. Recent reporting indicated the group was coordinating the use of suicide bombers within the district and may have been planning an attack at an Afghan border checkpoint. Also killed in the airstrike was Zehrie Gul, a Taliban leader who also operated in the Pachir wa Agam district with Sayid Rahman. Following intelligence tips, the precision airstrike was conducted after ensuring no civilians were present. A follow-on force conducted a ground assessment verifying Sayuid Rahman, Zehria Gul and several additional insurgents were killed. The force found multiple AK-47 rifles, chest racks, rocket-propelled-grenade rounds and grenades.
-- Afghan and coalition forces detained a Taliban IED and narcotics facilitator during a joint security operation in Kandahar province. Two suspected associates of the facilitator also were detained. The Taliban operative coordinated and transported money and narcotics across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in exchange for explosive components. He has extensive contacts with senior Taliban IED facilitators. This was one of nearly 20 operations this month resulting in more than 60 detainees in the Kandahar province.
NATO International Security Assistance Force
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