Afghan Army, Coalition Forces Repel Taliban Ambushes

WASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service, July 25, 2007) - Afghan and coalition forces killed numerous Taliban fighters in defeating ambushes over the last several days.

An unknown number of insurgents ambushed a group of Afghan National Army and police troops advised by coalition forces on a combat patrol near the village of Sarizkay in Afghanistan's Kandahar province yesterday morning.

The Afghan army-led patrol was about to pass through the village when Taliban fighters attempted the ambush, U.S. officials said. The combined forces repelled the attack with small-arms fire, and coalition aircraft dropped four bombs and made several strafing runs on the insurgent positions. Several insurgents are believed to have been killed during the skirmish, officials said.

Intelligence suggests that Taliban forces are likely attempting to reassert their presence in northern Kandahar after their recent defeats from Afghan and coalition operations in the area during the past several weeks, U.S. officials said.

In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan national security forces advised by coalition forces successfully defeated a Taliban ambush in Helmand province July 23.

Taliban insurgents engaged an Afghan-led patrol four kilometers northeast of the village of Gorazon. The insurgents attacked from three separate compounds near Gorazon with 107 mm rockets, heavy machine guns, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.

The Afghan and coalition forces immediately returned fire and called in close-air support to destroy the enemy fighters' compounds.

Coalition aircraft dropped three bombs, each on a separate compound, during this encounter. The Afghan-led patrol killed more than three dozen insurgent fighters with small-arms and mortar fire and precision air strikes.

"(Afghan) and coalition forces are defeating the insurgents in an area of Afghanistan that is considered a Taliban safe haven," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. "The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the coalition will not cede any area of this country to the insurgents. We will continue to find and destroy the enemy until they realize that there is no safe haven to be found in this country."

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)