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U.S. Soldiers Wounded; Troops Save Infant's Life

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2005 – Four U.S. servicemembers and an Afghan interpreter were wounded today when an improvised explosive device detonated near their up-armored Humvee south of Ghazni, Afghanistan, the capital of Ghazni province, on the Lora River.

Initial medical assessments indicated that none of the wounds was life-threatening. U.S. military aircraft transported the American and Afghan victims to nearby coalition medical facilities, according to U.S. officials at Bagram Air Base, about 27 miles north of the Afghan capital city of Kabul.

"Terrorists, who often pay impoverished Afghans to detonate these devices for them, are behind these brutal attacks," said Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara, a Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman. "These criminals know they cannot stand up to Afghan and coalition forces, so they are forced to resort to these tactics."

U.S. officials at Bagram also reported that Afghan and coalition forces discovered three improvised explosive devices on June 13.

The first device was discovered east of Kandahar by an Afghan police chief who, in turn, alerted Afghan and coalition forces. Coalition explosives experts responded to the scene and moved the device to a safe location before detonating it.

The second device was discovered near the Pakistan border and was destroyed in place by Afghan and coalition forces.

The third device, a mine that had been altered to detonate as an IED, was found southeast of Chamkani. It was discovered by coalition forces who noticed an object with exposed wires in the road.

A search of the immediate area uncovered several objects believed to be related to the IED's emplacement. The items were taken to Bagram Air Base for analysis, officials noted.

"Improvised explosive devices are a method by which terrorists inflict mindless death and destruction in Afghanistan," O'Hara said. "It's not at all unusual that Afghans routinely come forward and point out the location of these devices. These terrorists have no strategic goals aside from ruling Afghanistan by fear, much like a neighborhood bully."

American soldiers medically evacuated a 1-year-old boy whose father said he had ingested an unknown amount of opium. Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), evacuated the boy from Shinkay to Kandahar Airfield June 13.

"When he arrived his eyes were open, but he had pinpoint pupils, trouble breathing and was not responsive," said Dr. (Capt.) Jacqueline Naylor, a family care physician at Kandahar who treated the toddler. She said medical personnel at Kandahar administered a dose of Narcan, a drug that blocks the effects of opium. "Within 15 seconds he was screaming and hollering, which was a good thing."

"We washed him up, fed him, gave him some new clothes and shoes, and after that he was really just a happy little boy again," the doctor said.

The boy has fully recovered and was released to his father's care, officials said. Naylor explained that she and the medical personnel at Kandahar treat Afghan children on a fairly regular basis. "We treat a lot of things," she said. "Burns, overdose and injuries from landmines or attacks are the most common, however."

In other news, Afghan and coalition forces killed two insurgents and wounded another one north of Kandahar during a June 12 firefight, U.S. officials reported.

The wounded enemy was transported to Kandahar for treatment, where he is in stable condition, officials said.

After spotting a group of about 15 armed enemies in a narrow valley, Afghan and coalition forces move ahead of the enemy and set up blocking positions. As the enemy moved closer, a firefight broke out and most of the enemies attempted to flee. A dozen insurgents were captured and held for questioning.

"These terrorists, in their attempts to drag Afghanistan back into its brutal and oppressive past, are quickly learning that Afghan and coalition forces will not tolerate their attempts to wreck havoc," O'Hara said. "We, with our Afghan brethren, will make sure Afghanistan has a chance at a bright and safe future."

Afghan police arrested two suspected makers of improvised explosive devices near Deh Rahwod on June 11 and turned them over to coalition forces, officials said.

The two individuals, identified as Mohammed Wali and Haji Alim, possessed a detonation device and explosives. Afghans living in the village where the men were detained identified them as Taliban supporters. Taliban-related documents were found in their possession.

"This is a positive sign," O'Hara said. "Afghans clearly are tired of the violence and instability brought by these criminals, and they have trust and confidence in both Afghan and coalition forces to protect them from harm."

O'Hara pointed out that IEDs routinely harm civilians as well as Afghan and coalition forces. Besides killing and injuring Afghans, the devices are notoriously unstable and are responsible for destruction of Afghanistan 's already strained infrastructure, he noted.

"Since May 1, there have been more then 60 incidents involving the detonation or discovery of IEDs, making their construction and detonation one of the most dangerous aspects of life in Afghanistan," O'Hara said.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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