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Reports: Air Strikes Kill 9 Afghan Police Officers

Coalition Air Strikes Kill Enemy Fighters in Afghanistan; Reports That Afghan National Police Officers Were Killed

Washington, July 20, 2008 – An undetermined number of enemy fighters were killed today in separate air strikes in Afghanistan, with one of the engagements prompting an investigation into reports that Afghan National Police officers were killed.

Combined Joint Task Force 101 officials said they’ve launched an investigation into an incident in which a combined U.S.-Afghan patrol came under attack by a “non-uniformed hostile force” early this morning in the Ana Dara district of western Afghanistan’s Farah province.

The combined patrol signaled their status as coalition forces, but continued to receive fire, officials said. Coalition forces then returned small-arms fire and engaged the attackers with precision close-air support.

The Afghan government claims Afghan National Police officers -- one report says four and another report says nine -- were killed in the engagement, a CJTF 101 spokesman said.

In a separate Farah province incident early today, coalition forces called in air strikes to kill several enemy fighters. An exact number of enemy fighters killed was not available.

One of the militants targeted in the air strikes was an area weapons facilitator, and no civilians or coalition forces were injured in the engagement, officials said.

In other news from Afghanistan, security forces killed an undisclosed number of enemy fighters and detained more than a dozen during July 18 operations in Kandahar province, officials said. A large cache of artillery rounds, grenade fuses, and small-arms ammunition was recovered during the operation.

In operations last week, a team of Afghan National Army commandos and U.S. special operations forces freed a kidnapped man July 17 after finding him shackled near a Taliban jail in the village of Parmakan in western Afghanistan’s Herat province. The troops were searching a compound where a Taliban commander was known to have been when they discovered the jail. Local citizens said the Taliban routinely take hostages from the villages and demand a ransom for their release.

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 101 news releases.)

ENDS

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