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Servicemember Killed in Afghanistan; Three Caches Discovered

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2005 – At least 16 enemy forces and one U.S. servicemember were killed Aug. 8 during a firefight southwest of Deh Chopan, Afghanistan, military officials reported.

The servicemember was killed when an Afghan and U.S. patrol conducting operations aimed at routing enemy forces from the Deh Chopan area came under an unprovoked attack by enemy forces with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. U.S. and coalition aircraft arrived at the scene and provided continuous close air support.

Battle damage assessment is ongoing, officials said. Initial estimates indicate at least 16 enemy forces were killed. Civilians were not involved in the attack.

"While we are bringing the fight to the enemy forces in the area and experiencing great successes against them, it comes at a heavy cost," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. James G. Champion, Combined Joint Task Force 76 deputy commanding general. "We are greatly saddened by the loss of one of our own, but are able to take solace in the fact that we are ridding this area of an oppressive and violent enemy. Afghan and U.S. forces will continue this search and attack mission to ensure there are no enemy safe havens in this region."

The name of the deceased servicemember is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, two U.S. servicemembers were injured today near Ghazni when an improvised explosive device hit the vehicle they were traveling in. Both servicemembers were reported to be in stable condition and are being evacuated to Bagram Air Base for treatment.

The unit was conducting operations designed to disrupt enemy activity in the region at the time of the attack, U.S. officials said.

"These devices are used by cowardly individuals. Our operations are aimed precisely at finding and bringing people like this to justice," Champion said. "Our world-class medical professionals are making sure our people are getting the best medical treatment available."

In other developments, three separate caches were discovered across eastern Afghanistan Aug. 7.

The first cache, discovered near Jalalabad, consisted of an anti-aircraft gun, 23 mortar fuses, 38 rockets, 40 mortar rounds, 14 rocket-propelled grenades and several hundred rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition. The cache was transported to a nearby forward operating base for destruction at a later date.

Another cache, this one discovered northwest of Asadabad, contained a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, 12 shotguns, 10 pounds of explosives, several bolt-action rifles, and about 50 rocket-propelled grenades. The cache is also being transported to a nearby base for destruction.

The third cache was discovered inside a long tunnel north of Salerno and contained 50 tank rounds, 30 recoilless-rifle rounds, and 20 mortar rounds. All items in this cache were determined to be unstable and unserviceable, officials said. Explosive ordnance personnel destroyed the cache.

"These munitions are dangerous, not only as IED-making materiel, but because they are not properly stored," said Capt. Fidel Arvelo, explosive ordnance control team officer in charge. "These munitions, when left exposed to the elements, can become unstable and can represent a very real danger to anyone living or working near them."

In a statement, Arvelo said the coalition encourages "all Afghans to immediately report the location of these dangerous munitions to Afghan and coalition forces."

(Compiled from U.S. Central Command and Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

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