BAGRAM, Afghanistan March 29 —
Two U.S. special forces soldiers were killed and another was
wounded Saturday in an ambush in southern Afghanistan, the U.S.
The soldiers were on a reconnaissance patrol in Helmand province
when they were attacked, said a statement from the headquarters of
the U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Three Afghan soldiers also were wounded in the incident, said an
intelligence chief in southern Afghanistan.
The soldiers were inspecting a school and hospital being built
with American funding, said Dad Mohammed Khan, the intelligence
chief of Helmand.
"Two U.S. Special Forces were killed and one wounded when their
four vehicle-mounted reconnaissance patrol was ambushed in the
vicinity of Geresk," the U.S. military said in a statement from a
U.S.-run military base north of the capital, Kabul.
It did not immediately identify the victims.
Geresk is about 70 miles west of Kandahar.
Four people riding on two motorcycles ambushed the U.S. vehicles
and escaped, Khan said, identifying the assailants as fighters of
the former Taliban regime ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in late
Two days earlier, unidentified gunmen shot to death a water
engineer working for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Ricardo Munguia, 39, was killed when his car was intercepted on a
dirt road while he was returning from Tarin Kot, in neighboring
Uruzgan province, to the southern city of Kandahar.
Munguia was a citizen of both Switzerland and El Salvador. He was
the first foreign aid worker killed since the Taliban was
The deaths bring to 18 the number of combat casualties suffered
by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The last death occurred Dec. 21 when U.S. Army Sgt. Steven Checo,
22, of New York City, was shot and killed in a gunfight while on a
nighttime operation in the eastern province of Paktika, near the
border of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, U.S. special forces also were operating with hundreds
of Afghan soldiers in Uruzgan province in a fight against about 100
Taliban fighters, officials said.
Uruzgan province Gov. Haji Jan Mohammed told The Associated Press
that 15 Taliban have been killed and eight captured in the fighting
in Sangisakh Shaila, 50 miles north of the southern city of
Kandahar. Mohammed said so far six of his men have been wounded.
He said he had sent at least 400 soldiers to the fight, and that
U.S. special forces are also involved.
Another 600 soldiers from neighboring Kandahar province have been
sent to the battle area, said provincial police official Shafiullah,
who like many Afghans uses only one name.
"The Taliban are using heavy weapons and we are trying to either
kill or arrest them," Mohammed said.
The U.S. military said unidentified assailants opened fire on a
small group of U.S. special forces soldiers Saturday morning in the
vicinity of Khakrez, 27 miles northwest of Kandahar.
"The U.S. special forces were engaged; they attempted to break
contact and called in air support," the U.S. military said in a
statement from Bagram Air Base.
"The air support consisted of two Apache helicopters which were
engaged by enemy ground fire. They returned fire."
The statement also said coalition F-16s rushed to Khakrez and
dropped GBU-12 bombs. No coalition casualties were reported.
Many Taliban are believed to be hiding in southern Afghanistan
since they were ousted by U.S.-led bombardment after the Sept. 11,
2001, terrorist attacks.
|U.S. Army Sgt. David Parshall
inspects one of many pieces of unexploded ordnance discovered
off the National Highway 4 near the army base in Kandahar,
Afghanistan, Thursday, March 27, 2003. Ammunition, weapons and
mines from years of conflict litter the terrain of
Afghanistan. Ordnance once discovered is marked and disposed
of by the Explosive Ordinance Division of the Coalition Army
working in the country. (AP Photo/Gurinder
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