KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces captured an insurgent leader in eastern Afghanistan, and in a separate operation 10 militants were killed in a firefight, the U.S. military said Saturday.
U.S. forces said they grabbed a "key insurgent leader" in a joint raid with Afghan police Friday in a village in eastern Ghazni province. No shots were fired in the raid, the statement said.
The captured man is responsible for the deaths of Afghan troops, bomb attacks on coalition forces and the kidnapping of aid workers, according to the statement. A spokesman declined to give further information on the leader's identity while they search for his confederates.
Coalition forces also killed 10 militants in a strike against a bomb-making cell in the eastern Paktya province Friday, the U.S. military said.
The troops were targeting several key figures in a network run by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a militant leader believed to operate out of Pakistan, the military statement said.
The coalition forces were attacked during the strike and returned fire, killing their assailants, it said. The U.S. military said those killed were Haqqani militants and foreign fighters known to have planned and conducted bomb attacks on civilians and coalition forces, and to coordinate suicide bombings.
The military has not yet determined whether any of the targeted leaders were among those killed, said U.S. Army spokeswoman Master Sgt. Melissa Rolan.
The United States once considered Jalaluddin Haqqani a "freedom fighter" against the former Soviet Union, but he and his son Sirajuddin are now seen as closely associated with the Taliban.
Suicide attacks have been one of the Taliban's preferred tactics in their assaults against Afghan and foreign troops. Most of the victims of such attacks have been civilians.
Afghan police said two national intelligence agents and one police officer were killed late Friday in a bomb attack on their vehicle south of Kabul. They were hit while responding to an earlier bomb attack that injured three police officers, regional police commander Gen. Zalmai Oryakhail said.
Police thwarted a suicide attack in the eastern city of Khost on Saturday, officials said. Officers surrounded a suspect, who was on foot, and the man detonated the explosives on his body. The would-be attacker died, but no one else was injured, said health department director Gull Mohammedan Mohammadi.
Meanwhile, coalition forces accidentally killed a civilian during a clash with insurgents in Zabul province. The civilian was killed when a grenade fired by coalition forces overshot its target, according to a U.S. military statement.
"We regret the loss of an innocent civilian caught in the crossfire and our condolences go to his family," said Col. Gregory Julian, a U.S. forces spokesman.
On Friday, an Afghan official said suspected Taliban militants had killed a religious leader in the west after he criticized the use of suicide attacks.
Shamsudin Agha was kidnapped Tuesday, days after he condemned the use of suicide attacks, provincial police Chief Abdul Ghafar Watandar said. Authorities recovered his body Wednesday.
More than 5,400 people — mostly militants — have died in insurgency related violence this year in Afghanistan, according to a tally by The Associated Press of figures provided by Afghan and international officials.