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Coalition, Afghan Soldiers Attacked Near Qalat

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2004 – An improvised explosive device wounded three U.S. soldiers and an Afghan National Army soldier near Qalat, Afghanistan, early today.

The troops were part of a vehicle convoy when the IED exploded near their Humvee, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan officials said in a release.

Two U.S. soldiers were evacuated to Kandahar Air Field for medical treatment. One had shrapnel injuries, and the other had a possible concussion. They are now in stable condition, officials said. An ANA and a U.S. soldier were also treated at the scene for cuts.

Afghanistan marked the first anniversary of the "demobilization, decommissioning, and reintegration" program there on Oct. 24, command spokesman Army Maj. Scott Nelson said in a press conference today.

In the past 12 months, the Afghanistan New Beginnings Program has helped to disarm more than 21,550 former militia members, Nelson said. Through the program, more than 16,500 weapons have been collected and more than 19,800 individuals have received assistance to "re-enter Afghan society and return to a peaceful way of life," he said.

Also, he said, DDR has assisted in the "heavy weapons cantonment process." To date, more than 2,900 -- almost 70 percent -- of all known working or repairable heavy weapons in Afghanistan are now secure in cantonment sites throughout the country. He noted the capital of Kabul is 100 percent heavy- weapons free.

The security situation in Afghanistan continues to make great progress, Nelson said. "The election process appears to be nearing completion with counting of the votes winding up," he said.

He credited the success of the process itself in large part to the vigilance of security forces around the country. Security forces from the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police headed security efforts.

There have also been several incidents involving coalition forces since Oct. 23, Nelson said.

That day, an improvised explosive device detonated near a coalition convoy southwest of Jalalabad, in Nangarhar Province. The one Marine who was injured in the explosion was evacuated to Bagram Air Base and is in stable condition.

The IED did not strike any vehicle directly, but it caused minor damage to a truck in the convoy, Nelson said. He added that on the same day, three weapons caches were discovered.

Coalition forces, with the assistance of local nationals and local authorities, discovered a weapons cache near Orgun-e in Paktika Province, another near Ghazni in Ghazni Province, and a third near Qalat in Zabol Province.

Coalition forces encountered two more IEDs and discovered another three weapons caches on Oct. 24.

The first IED detonated near coalition forces southwest of Jalalabad, causing no injuries or damage to equipment, according to Nelson. Coalition forces near Skhin in Paktika Province discovered the second before it detonated and destroyed the IED in place.

The weapons caches were discovered southeast of Bagram Airfield, northwest of Deh Rahwod in Oruzgan Province and near Kandahar.

On Oct. 25, an IED detonated between two vehicles in a coalition convoy north of Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan Province. No coalition forces were injured in this attack, and no equipment was damaged, Nelson said.

He added that an ANA unit reported contact the same day when it came under fire with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. No injuries were reported in this attack.

Security forces are making contact with enemy fighters and discovering caches because they continue to conduct aggressive operations throughout Afghanistan, Nelson said. "Each day, Afghanistan becomes less hospitable to individuals and organizations determined to disrupt the continuing peaceful democratic process," he added.

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Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

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