WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2009 – Afghan soldiers and police, working with international troops, in recent days have detained insurgents in southern and eastern Afghanistan and seized large amounts of weapons and explosives, military officials reported.

Yesterday, a joint force of Afghan and international troops detained several suspected insurgents after searching a series of buildings in Khost province and compounds in Kandahar province.

The buildings in Khost were known to be used by a Haqqani terrorist cell responsible for distributing improvised explosive devices and IED-making material throughout the region.

In a compound search north of Kandahar City, a joint force pursued Taliban suspects responsible for IED and small-arms attacks, and for shipping weapons and explosives into the region. The force wounded a suspected Taliban commander after he displayed hostile intent with a weapon. Although the force provided immediate medical care, he later died from his wounds.

The joint force also found TNT explosives, one antipersonnel mine, seven AK-47 rifles, fragmentation grenades and communications equipment.

All weapons and equipment were destroyed in place. No Afghan civilians were harmed in either search.

On Sept. 18, a joint Afghan-international force detained three suspected militants in Kandahar province after searching a compound known to be used by insurgents as a weapons supply point.

The Taliban use an extensive network of supply routes in southern Afghanistan to arm and equip their militant elements within the country, officials said.

On Sept. 16, Afghan border policemen from the Garbuz district of Khost province seized weapons and explosives during routine checkpoint stops.

The police were alerted by another checkpoint tower that a vehicle may be attempting to avoid a checkpoint. The police quickly intercepted the vehicle and questioned the driver. The police instructed the driver to move his vehicle to the checkpoint, but the driver refused. The police moved back to the operations center and the driver fled.

While moving the vehicle for further examination, the police took small-arms fire. They quickly returned fire, causing the enemy to flee.

Forces found about 2,500 pounds of explosive material during the inspection.

“The [Afghan border police’s] diligence of stopping any suspicious vehicles from crossing into Afghanistan shows they are hard at work,” said Army Maj. Matthew Gregory, a public affairs officer with the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.

In a separate incident in the same location, U.S. paratroopers from 4th Brigade’s 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion stopped two additional vehicles crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan, and seized 29 AK-47s and two chest racks found in a search. They detained three occupants.

“The removal of these explosives and weapons greatly decreases the effectiveness of the enemies of Afghanistan to carry out operations meant to cause harm to our paratroopers and the innocent Afghans,” Gregory said. “This incident also shows the continued effectiveness of the [Afghan National Security Force] and constant progress Afghan security forces are making to completely take the reins of responsibly for securing their country.”

All explosives were turned over to explosive ordnance detachment personnel for disposal.

No Afghan or coalition personnel were injured.

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