Australian troops and their Afghan allies have significantly disrupted Taliban springtime preparations for the upcoming fighting season, Defence says.
Ten insurgent leaders and bombmakers were either killed or captured in recent joint operations between Australian and Afghan troops.
Commander of the Australian Forces in the Middle East Major General Angus Campbell said the effectiveness of the insurgent leadership in central and western Oruzgan Province had been seriously undermined.
“Partnered Special Forces operations in March have resulted in 10 key insurgent commanders no longer posing a threat to local nationals and Coalition forces in Oruzgan province,” he said.
“The insurgency is now more vulnerable than it has been in recent years and after a winter period where many of its caches were discovered and destroyed, they will find it more difficult to construct home-made bombs and attack civilian and coalition targets.”
The string of successes started on March 18 in what was called Operation Tevara Sin 24. Partnered Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and Afghan Provincial Response Company (PRC) patrols intercepted two insurgent commanders operating in the western areas of Oruzgan Province.
Mullah Abdul Ali, an insurgent commander responsible for improvised explosive device (IED) and suicide bomb attacks was shot and killed, along with his bodyguard.
Another district-level insurgent commander was detained on March 19. He is alleged to have been heavily involved in the manufacture, distribution and employment of IEDs.
Concurrent separate operations on March 27 resulted in the detention of a suspected district-level commander in the Mirabad valley region and a person believed to be a prolific IED facilitator in the Deh Rafshan area.
Defence said the person captured in Mirabad was believed to have direct links to the highest levels of the insurgency in the province.
“He is suspected of being a subordinate of one of the senior commanders in Oruzgan and responsible for multiple attacks on Afghan National Police checkpoints and facilitating IEDs throughout eastern Uruzgan,” Maj Gen Campbell said.
On March 28, the Australian and Afghan soldiers killed the senior insurgent logistician responsible for supporting several insurgent cells operating in the central Oruzgan region.
Also killed that day were two armed insurgents after they opened fire on a patrol in Deh Rafshan.
It was later confirmed that one was Ahmadi Kaka, an accomplished IED manufacturer and facilitator who played a key role in supporting insurgent operations in central Oruzgan.
Major General Campbell said his death was considered a serious blow to the insurgent groups currently consolidating after the winter. Agencies