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Several insurgents killed in raid on al-Qaida 'facilitators'

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — A raid late Sunday night on a house the U.S. military says was housing foreign al-Qaida “facilitators” in Afghanistan’s restive northeast resulted in the killing of several insurgents and detention of five others, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The operation was focused in the Asadabad District in the mountainous Kunar province, a hotbed for clashes between U.S. and insurgent militants fighting for both al-Qaida and Taliban networks.

U.S. spokesman Maj. Chris Belcher said intelligence indicated a foreign al-Qaida presence in the Asadabad area, and when U.S. and Afghan forces reached the house, they called for the insurgents to come out.

Some of the suspected al-Qaida operatives fled, prompting U.S. and Afghan security forces to attack the men and others holed up in the house “threatening coalition forces,” according to a statement released by the U.S. military on Monday.

Heavy artillery was also fired from Camp Wright, positioned in the provincial capital city of Asadabad, which lies roughly five miles from the Pakistani border.

After the gunfight, U.S. troops entered the house, detaining five occupants for further questioning, the statement read.

Before an operation by U.S. forces in Kunar province, ground commanders said they were hunting an Egyptian national named Abu Ikhlas, known as “The Engineer,” who serves as “facilitator” for Osama bin Laden in Kunar.

“It will take a period of time to confirm the identities of those detained — normally, it’s usually one to two days,” Belcher said.

He said a number of AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition were recovered.

Some surrounding buildings were damaged, Belcher said. He noted that the commander of the U.S. units involved is responsible for sorting out and paying for the damages in an appropriate manner.


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