31 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-256

Operation Achilles success – capture of key Taliban extremists

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – This week in joint operations with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), ISAF launched a series of attacks and precision strikes against Taliban extremist compounds, safe houses and strongholds throughout Southern Afghanistan.

Shortly after midnight on 30 March, an operation was launched to capture several key Taliban extremists in the Kandahar City region.  During the early morning raid, Taj Mohammed, his brother Raz Mohammed and another well known insurgent, Bacha Aka were captured and subsequently placed into National Directorate of Security custody.

These insurgents were the perpetrators of the failed assassination attempt on Mullah Naqibullah, a former Mujahideen Commander and a well respected local tribal Elder, which took place outside Kandahar City earlier this month.  Although Mullah Naqibullah survived the attack, one of his sons and an assistant were killed, while his two other sons suffered severe injuries.

In 2007 alone, such random acts of violence have killed dozens of innocent Afghans and injured more than 60 others.  For the month of March alone, 15 innocent Afghans have been killed and more than 10 Afghans have been wounded as the direct result of Taliban extremist actions.

In a separate operation, ISAF and the Afghan National Army supported Afghan National Police (ANP) patrolmen on 29 March, after a vehicle check point in Northern Uruzgan came under attack from Taliban extremists. During the operation, one ANP patrolman was rescued after being injured and captured by Taliban extremists. Regrettably, one ANP patrolman and four Afghan Security Guard personnel were killed during the attack.

This unwarranted attack on Government of Afghanistan forces caused a delay in the delivery of military aid to victims of last week’s flooding throughout the Helmand River valley, but operations are now back to normal.

Finally, on 28 March, an extremist compound located in a remote village north of Kajaki in Northern Helmand was targeted and destroyed by precision air strikes. Several insurgents were killed during the strike including key Taliban leaders.

These latest strikes are part of Operation Achilles, an operation launched earlier this month in order to remove the initiative from Taliban extremists and conduct stabilization operations in the Southern Region on ISAF’s terms. 

“By launching Operation Achilles, we have essentially taken the initiative away from insurgents,” stated Major General Ton van Loon, Commander of Regional Command South.  “The Taliban extremist leadership in the south have been taken off guard by Operation Achilles and are on the defensive at this stage.  We have inflicted serious damage to their command and control infrastructure as well as their ability to re-supply,” he added.

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/