3 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-145

ISAF denies Taliban claim of destroying vehicles

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The Taliban claim that they destroyed four ISAF vehicles recently is false.

Yesterday, there was an incident involving ISAF vehicles near Lashkar Gah district, Helmand province. At approximately 12:15 p.m., Afghan National Police (ANP) and ISAF troops were on a joint patrol north of Lashkar Gah, in the area of Babaji, when they were engaged by Taliban extremists.

During the incident, two ISAF vehicles became stuck in the difficult terrain. ISAF forces could have destroyed the vehicles, but chose not to do so because of concerns for the safety of nearby civilians.  Neither vehicle was hit by enemy fire or destroyed, as the Taliban claim. Both vehicles were deliberately disabled by ISAF troops on the ground to render them useless by the enemy.

"The Taliban have once again made false claims that are nothing short of bold-faced lies," said Col Tom Collins, ISAF spokesperson.  "While the vehicles were disabled, they were not done so at the hand of the Taliban.  ISAF left the vehicles in tact so we would not cause undue harm to innocent civilians. You'll never hear the Taliban pulling back from an operation because of innocents in the area."

ANP supported ISAF during the entire engagement. There were no ANP or ISAF casualties. ISAF has conducted operations and seen significant fighting in Helmand province over the past few days.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/