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Forces in Afghanistan Detain Suspects, Seize Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2010 - Afghan and international forces detained several suspected insurgents in Marja, Afghanistan, yesterday and found numerous weapons caches in recent operations, military officials reported.

Officials also provided details on two incidents involving civilian casualties.

In the Marja operation, a combined Afghan-international force searched a compound in the southeastern part of the town in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province after intelligence information indicated militant activity. During the search, the combined force detained several suspected insurgents for further questioning.

In Ghazni province last night, an International Security Assistance Force patrol recovered a weapons cache after it was reported by an Afghan civilian. The cache contained a hand grenade, 62 mortar fuses and shotgun ammunition.

An ISAF patrol in the Maidan Shahr district of Wardak province last night found a weapons cache containing a 107 mm rocket, four rocket fuses, two 82 mm mortar rounds, two mortar fuses and nine Russian-made projectile fuses.

In the Bala Boluk district of Farah province yesterday, a combined Afghan-international patrol found a cache containing more than a half ton of suspected ammonium nitrate, a banned fertilizer often used in making homemade bombs.

An Afghan-international patrol in Helmand's Nad-e Ali district found a cache containing seven assault rifles, two shotguns, a rifle, two 9 mm pistols, various machine-gun ammunition, pressure-plate initiation devices and various bomb-making materials.

Another Afghan-international patrol in Nad-e Ali found a cache containing 15 82 mm mortar rounds, a rocket-propelled grenade and two fragmentation charges, each containing 25 pounds of homemade explosives.

In other news from Afghanistan, three injured children were brought to an ISAF forward operating base near Tarin Kowt today after ISAF soldiers had completed a training exercise involving live ammunition. They received immediate medical attention and were evacuated for further treatment, although none of the injuries initially appear to be life-threatening, officials said.

An investigation is under way, officials said, and compensation for injuries or property damage caused by ISAF activities will be offered according to local customs.

Meanwhile, preliminary investigation results of a March 24 incident in the Bak district of Khost province indicate that a combined ISAF-Afghan force accidentally caused the deaths of two civilians and injuries to four others when the force was returning indirect fire against an insurgent attack nearby.

The injured civilians initially were brought to a nearby military compound by villagers. Afghan commandos and coalition medics provided immediate medical treatment, and the injured people subsequently were taken to an ISAF military hospital for further treatment.

A boy later was taken to Bagram Airfield for more treatment, and three other injured civilians were treated at the hospital and released.

After the incident, Afghan and coalition leaders immediately met with village elders and relatives to help determine the cause of the incident. The governor and subgovernor also were notified.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this terrible accident and their families," said Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, ISAF Joint Command spokeswoman. "We take accidents such as this very seriously, and we incorporate investigative findings into our operations to improve our procedures. We remain fully committed to the people of Afghanistan, and we take every precaution to prevent civilian casualties."

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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