| WASHINGTON, April 15, 2007 Coalition forces killed and captured several extremists in Afghanistan over the past few days, U.S. military officials reported.
Coalition forces detained an extremist and discovered makeshift bomb-making material in a compound in Afghanistans Paktika province today.
The compound consisted of multiple safe houses that use natural terrain to facilitate the movement of fighters from Pakistan. The bomb-making materials were destroyed in place. No shots were fired and no one was injured during the operation, officials said.
Meanwhile, Afghan National Army and coalition troops operating in Afghanistans Helmand province received rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire from an unknown number of Taliban fighters yesterday.
Afghan and coalition troops returned fire and maneuvered to the enemy observation site. After pinning down the Taliban fighters, coalition close-air support was requested and destroyed the enemy observation site.
Six Taliban fighters were killed, and there were no Afghan civilian injuries reported, officials said.
"The Taliban are fighting a losing battle," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. "The Afghan people demand peace in the Sangin District area; and the Afghan National Army and Coalition forces will attain it."
In addition, members of the Afghan National Police, advised by U.S. Special Forces soldiers, and U.S. paratroopers rescued five civilian contractors from a mechanically disabled helicopter April 12 in Afghanistans Ghazni province, U.S. military officials reported.
Five civilian contractors on a helicopter made a precautionary landing near the village of Oaleh-e Ghafur due to mechanical problems, just before the hours of darkness.
Coalition forces operating near Ghazni were notified of the distress call and immediately began making their way to the helicopter site. The civilian contractors began receiving small-arms fire from Taliban extremists, shortly after the helicopter landed. The civilian contractors evaded the Taliban fighters until coalition close air support arrived and engaged the pursuing enemy fighters. Three extremists were killed in the engagement, officials said.
Coalition soldiers secured the helicopter site, conducted a link-up with the civilian contractors and transported them to a nearby coalition base. The civilian contractors were treated for minor injuries and released.
No Afghan civilian injuries were reported during the rescue mission, officials said.
Also on April 12, 1st Kandak, 209th Afghan National Army Corps, and coalition forces operating in Afghanistans Helmand province positively identified and engaged several groups of Taliban fighters with close-air support, direct and indirect fire.
During the engagement, Afghan and coalition forces pursued fleeing Taliban fighters northward, near the village of Kaj Gerd, as they were attempting to break contact. More than 35 Taliban fighters were killed by Afghan and coalition forces during the 5-hour afternoon battle, officials said.
"Afghan National Army and coalition soldiers have dealt the Taliban fighters a severe blow in the Sangin District," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesperson. "The small remnants of Taliban fighters that remain have two choices; reconcile with the Afghan government or face elimination."
(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)