Over the past week, Coalition forces have been engaged in heavy fighting near Regay village in Musa Qala district, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Taliban who have been attacking Coalition patrols daily. Located 14 miles south of the city of Musa Qala, Regay saw heavy fighting break out August 25th when a joint Afghan-US Special Forces patrol came under attack and spent the night fighting off the Taliban. The next day, the fighting continued after the patrol was engaged from reinforced positions again, this time by extremists from inside several compounds lined with trenches.
Following the battle, that left more than 20 Taliban dead, a large heroin-producing facility was uncovered. Inside troops found dozens of 50-gallon barrels of chemicals as well as the infrastructure needed to complete the drug-making process. Later that day, after destroying the lab, the patrol was attacked again by well-entrenched Taliban forces using small-arms and mortar fire. The attack was successfully defended, ending in the deaths of an undisclosed number of Taliban.
Just north of Regay, and for the fourth time in two days, the same patrol was again attacked from multiple compounds by entrenched fighters. Coalition forces, using artillery and small arms, fought off the initial ambush, and then counterattacked the compounds, killing a dozen fighters. Once inside, troops killed three more Taliban while clearing a trench/bunker system.
The attacks on this one combat patrol were just the beginning of a long week that resulted in several significant clashes leaving scores of Taliban defenders dead.
August 29: Just three miles from the discovery of the first heroin lab, Coalition forces destroyed a second large lab following a brief fight with Taliban defenders.
August 30: In the same vicinity as the previous day’s attack, Afghan National Security troops supported by US advisors were attacked from reinforced positions along the Musa Qala River. During this firefight, Coalition forces used close air support to defeat the attack, killing more than 15 Taliban fighters.
August 30: A NATO airstrike killed Mullah Berader in Sarwan Qala — between the districts of Sangin and Musa Qala. Berader served on the Taliban Shura Majlis, or executive council, up until his death as well as served as a senior commander in southern Afghanistan.
August 31: Auxiliary Police, again advised by Coalition forces, were attacked using small arms, mortars, and RPGs, this time from within the town of Regay itself. Close air support was again used, killing nearly two dozen suspected Taliban fighters. The same day, south of Regay and near the scene of the opening battle a week before, Afghan National Army soldiers and their Coalition advisors were clearing both sides of the Musa Qala riverbank when they were attacked. Coalition forces used small arms and fixed wing strafing runs to kill an undisclosed number of fighters. Farther down river, yet another joint patrol came under attack from a group of compounds linked by trenches. In the following battle, which included airstrikes, seven Taliban fighters were confirmed killed.
The coalition openly talks about Musa Qala as a region in control of the Taliban, but have stayed away from large scale confrontations with fighters there since coalition troops left the town center following months of some the heaviest fighting seen during the past five years.
For the British and the Danes, Musa Qala will be a place talked about for generations after a platoon of British Special Forces fought off daily assaults for 52 days before finally being relieved. After another two months of fighting, the coalition eventually withdrew, pulling out of the city center in October 2006. Soon after, a deal was struck with the Taliban for both sides to pull out, leaving control of the area in the hands of tribal elders. That peace was shattered in February 2007 when US airstrikes killed a prominent Taliban commander, prompting Taliban forces to once again seize the town by force. They have been there ever since.
The Coalition believes the area acts as a resupply point for extremists around the region as well as a financial hub for the Taliban who use the sales of heroin and opium to fund their movement.
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