Operation Mountain Thrust: '26 Taliban eliminated' (Afghanistan)
KABUL/KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok Afghan News): Afghan and coalition forces in the southern region claimed eliminating 26 Taliban militants in separate attacks on their hideouts.
The crackdown is part of the biggest "Operation Mountain Thrust," the second phase of which was launched on June 15 with participation of 11,000 American, British, Canadian and Afghan soldiers.
The foreign troops, with the help of air force, are combing areas in Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces to destroy sanctuaries and eliminate the Taliban, who are responsible for the recent surge in insurgency in the southern provinces.
Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone Wednesday morning, spokesman for Helmand governor Haji Mohyuddin Khan claimed the coalition and Afghan forces killed 20 Taliban fighters in a clash last night.
He said the fighting took place in the Musa Qala district of the province. The ground forces were supported by coalition's helicopters, which bombed hideouts of the militants.
General Rahmatullah Raufi, commander of the 205 Atal Corps in Kandahar, informed a Taliban fighter was captured alive while an ANA soldier received injuries in the overnight operation. He added the security forces also recovered 20 different arms left behind by the fleeing Taliban.
Raufi said three Taliban had been arrested in a separate operation in the Atghar district of Zabul province. One of the arrested men was in injured condition and they also possessed arms, said the commander.
In the same province, police claimed killing six Taliban and arresting five others. Provincial police chief Brig Gen Noor Mohammad Paktin said security forces attacked a group of Taliban and killed one of the fighters. In the ensuing fight, four more Taliban were gunned down for their forces, said Paktin.
He said a coalition soldier was wounded when their vehicle, which was part of a joint Afghan and coalition convoy, hit a landmine in the same province. He added in separate actions in Daichopan and Naubahar districts of the province, coalition and Afghan forces arrested nine Taliban.
One fighter was located by the coalition's air force who was later arrested by the ground forces. The man was wearing a shawl used by women in Afghanistan. Paktin said one Ak-47 assault rifle and a pistol was recovered from his possession.
Von: 23.6.2006 by Zabuli/Haidar/Zahid, Pajhwak Afghan News