BAGRAM, Afghanistan March 29 —
Two U.S. soldiers were killed and another was wounded Saturday in
an ambush in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said.
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 were wounded, said an intelligence chief in
The soldiers were inspecting a school and hospital being built
with American funding, said Dad Mohammed Khan, the intelligence
chief of Helmand.
A special forces soldier and an airman were killed and another
special forces soldier was wounded when their four-vehicle convoy
was ambushed while on reconnaissance patrol near Geresk, the U.S.
military said in a statement from a U.S. military base north of the
capital, Kabul. It did not identify the victims.
Four people 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
Army spokesman Col. Roger King said the U.S. servicemen were
among fewer than 20 people in the convoy.
"They drove into a kill zone," King told The Associated
The convoy sped out of the area as a gunfight ensued, King
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.
Geresk is about 70 miles west 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 Army Sgt. Steven Checo, 22,
of New York, was killed in a gunfight during a nighttime operation
in the eastern province of Paktika, near the Pakistani border.
Meanwhile, U.S. special forces and hundreds of Afghan soldiers
fought about 100 Taliban fighters in southern Uruzgan province,
Uruzgan province Gov. Haji Jan Mohammed told The Associated Press
that 15 Taliban were killed and eight captured in the fighting in
Sangisakh Shaila, 50 miles north of Kandahar. Six of Mohammed's men
were wounded, he said.
Mohammed sent at least 400 soldiers to the fight and U.S. special
forces were involved, he said.
Another 600 soldiers from neighboring Kandahar province were sent
to the battle area, said provincial police official Shafiullah, who,
like many Afghans, uses one name.
"The Taliban are using heavy weapons and we are trying to either
kill or arrest them," Mohammed said.
The Norwegian military said two Norwegian F-16 fighter jets
dropped four laser-guided bombs on targets northeast of
The fighters were on a routine patrol mission over Afghanistan
when they were called to support coalition ground troops under fire,
said a statement released in Oslo.
It was the third time Norwegian jets have engaged in combat in
Earlier Saturday unidentified assailants opened fire on a small
group of U.S. special forces soldiers Saturday near 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 four bombs. No coalition casualties were reported.
Many Taliban are believed to be hiding in southern Afghanistan
since they were ousted by a 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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