An operation by Afghan and Australian special forces has resulted in the capture of a high-level insurgent commander.
Coalition forces have been targeting insurgent commanders and infrastructure in the lead-up to the summer fighting season.
In joint operations last month 10 insurgent leaders and bombmakers were either killed or captured.
In the latest operation, soldiers of the Afghan Provincial Response Company (PRC-U) and the Australian Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) detained an insurgent described as a highly influential district-level commander.
The capture occurred during a clearance mission in the Khod Valley region on April 8 with a number of insurgents detained.
One was later identified as a district-level commander.
Chief of Australian Defence Force joint operations Lieutenant General Mark Evans said the commander was prolific in facilitating insurgency activities throughout southern Afghanistan.
“The man has direct links to the senior leadership of the insurgency and is a highly influential commander,” he said in a statement.
“He was in charge of insurgent operations in the Char Chineh district and is also responsible for supplying weapons and fighters throughout Shahid-e Hassas.”
The man has now been transferred to a detention facility in Parwan that is operating under Australian control.
Lieutenant General Evans said his removal would severely disrupt planned insurgent operations, particularly in western Oruzgan province, and reduce attacks on coalition and local forces.
He said recent efforts had resulted in a significant blow to the insurgents’ ability to plant improvised explosive devices and prepare for the coming fighting season.
“The insurgency in Oruzgan is now less capable after a winter period where many of its caches were discovered and destroyed,” he said in a statement.
“As a result, the insurgency will now find it more difficult to construct home-made bombs and attack civilian and International Security Assistance Force targets.”
Lieutenant General Evans said Afghan forces, backed by Australian troops, were doing a brilliant job of increasing security and placing hard-line insurgent elements under incredible pressure.
“We saw the provincial governor recently accept the reintegration of 45 former fighters back into their local communities. There is a way out for those who choose to take it.” Agencies