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U.S. Soldier Dies in Afghanistan; Two Soldiers Charged in Alleged Assault

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2005 – A U.S. soldier was killed Oct. 29 when enemy fighters fired on an Afghan and U.S. patrol north of Lwara, along the Pakistani border in eastern Afghanistan, military officials reported.

The soldier was initially wounded during the operation and evacuated to Forward Operating Base Salerno for treatment but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving, officials said.

Coalition forces were conducting security operations when a patrol came under fire from enemy forces with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. Coalition forces responded with small-arms fire, artillery support and close-air support, causing the enemy to flee the area.

"We have lost a good friend and paratrooper today," Army Maj. Bob O'Brien, an executive officer for Regional Command East, said. "We greatly feel his loss and honor his sacrifice for Americans and Afghans alike. His sacrifice only strengthens our resolve to continue taking the fight to the enemy."

In other developments, charges have been filed under military law against two U.S. soldiers for alleged assault against two individuals who were being temporarily detained at a forward operating base detention site in Oruzgan province, in southern Afghanistan.

The two soldiers are accused of striking the detainees, who were in their custody, officials said. The soldiers allegedly punched the detainees in the chest, shoulders and stomach. The nature of the assault did not require medical attention for either of the detainees, officials said.

"The command remains committed to investigate all allegations of misconduct and will hold individuals responsible for their actions consistent with U.S. military law," Army Brig. Gen. Jack Sterling, deputy commanding general for support of Combined Joint Task Force 76 , said.

The charges include conspiracy to maltreat, assault, and dereliction of duty. The allegations, if substantiated, could lead to disciplinary action, officials said.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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