Oklahoma Soldiers Capture Insurgent Leader In Afghanistan

Tuesday, November 8th 2011, 9:38 pm
By: News 9


LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Several Oklahoma National Guard soldiers, along with the Afghan and Coalition forces, captured a mid-level insurgent leader during a cordon and search operation in Laghman Province, Afghanistan.

The Oklahoma National Guard made the official announcement of the capture on Sunday, November 6.

According to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Luke Graziani, Task Force Thunderbird, a specially trained U.S. and Afghan National Army platoon, was conducting raids to kill or capture high value individual and targets when they captured the insurgent leader Bari-Ali.

"This group of specially trained Soldiers were brought together to thwart out insurgents in villages throughout Laghman province," said U.S. Army Col. Joel P. Ward, commander of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. "This opportunity to work with the ANA builds on their capacity to provide long-term security capabilities."

According to Sgt. Graziani, Ali and two other individuals, including Ali's brother Roshan Zilmai, surrendered to coalition forces without incident. The three were detained by Coalition forces and transported to a nearby facility for further questioning.

Officials said the capture of Ali is expected to sever the lines of communication between some mid-level and low-level insurgents.

According to Sgt. Graziani, the soldiers also discovered weapons, hand grenades, tactical fighting gear and multiple cell phones during the search. The operation ended with no injuries or casualties to Coalition forces and civilians and no damage to equipment.