U.S. soldier killed, 2 hurt in SE Afghanistan battle

October 01, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

KABUL, Afghanistan - An American soldier has been killed and two wounded in a gunbattle in southeastern Afghanistan close to the Pakistani border, the U.S. military announced in a statement yesterday.

Two suspected Taliban militants were also killed in the firefight, which occurred Monday near the U.S. fire base at Shkin.

American soldiers at the Shkin base come under rocket attack or ambush almost daily from groups of militants who often flee across the border into Pakistan after their attacks.

The Taliban have sought to gain control of the border town of Bormol after attacking the district office and police station in August and killing 22 Afghan government soldiers.

The Kabul government no longer has any representatives in the border area of Shkin and Bormol, and the American military alone has a base at Shkin where several hundred infantry and special forces are stationed.

Two U.S. soldiers were killed Aug. 31 in fighting in the area. Col. Rodney M. Davis, a spokesman who announced Monday's deaths, just last week described Shkin as "the most evil place in Afghanistan."

The Taliban and anti-American forces have grown bolder in their attacks, often deploying dozens of fighters at a time. Five U.S. servicemen have died and five have been wounded in the past two months in fighting with suspected Taliban in Afghanistan across the southern and southeastern parts of the country.

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