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U.S., Coalition Casualties Reported, Weapons Caches Found

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2004 – Officials announced Sept. 22 that three U.S. soldiers had been killed and 14 others injured as a result of eight incidents on Sept. 20 where Afghan National Army and coalition forces had engaged anti- coalition militia.

"We report the death of these U.S. soldiers, who died courageously, with deep sadness, and we offer our most heartfelt condolences and prayers to their families and loved ones," said Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spokesman Maj. Scott Nelson at a press conference.

He noted that progress is being made despite the resistance. "Every day, more and more pieces of the apparatus that once terrorized the Afghan people are being removed slowly, and sanctuaries for the anti-coalition militia within Afghanistan are disappearing," Nelson said. Six ANA soldiers were injured, and one was reported missing. Nelson noted that "approximately" nine anti-coalition military were killed in the fighting.

In other news, a coalition soldier was wounded by shrapnel during a rocket attack on Bagram Airfield in one of five incidents occurring Sept. 22, military officials reported today. One rocket impacted inside the base perimeter and injured the soldier. The other two rockets fell outside the base.

In the second incident, insurgents fired two rockets at a forward operating base in Paktika province. And earlier in the day, insurgents attacked a coalition base in Zabul province. Several rockets were fired at the base camp. No injuries or damage to equipment were reported in either incident.

An enemy insurgent was killed in a battle in Oruzgan province when coalition soldiers conducting a patrol came under small-arms fire.

In the fifth incident, an improvised explosive device was discovered near Deh Rawod. Soldiers found a 107 mm rocket with wires hanging from its back, and contacted an explosive ordnance disposal unit.

In other action, two U.S soldiers were wounded by an IED while on a routine security patrol in Shinkay Sept. 20.

In incidents involving coalition aircraft, a UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopter came under rocket and small-arms fire Zabul province. An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter engaged the enemy, killing six insurgents. There were no were injuries or damage reported in either incident.

Military officials also reported that coalition soldiers found several weapon caches at different sites throughout the country during the past several days.

Today, a local citizen led soldiers to a weapons cache outside of Bagram that included 14 rockets, three of which were aimed at Bagram Airfield where coalition soldiers are stationed.

A second cache discovered near Kabul included 610 82 mm mortars and 185 recoilless rifle rounds. In Ghazni a third cache was found, included 171 cans of 14.5 mm rounds, 125 cans of 12.5 mm rounds and 20 cans of 7.62 mm rounds.

Among other recent caches found was stockpile southwest of Ghazni containing eight type 69 Chinese anti-personnel mines and 47 Chinese type 53 82 mm mortars.

Yet another Ghazni cache netted eight mines, 17 fuses, three 107 mm rockets, 51 mortars and six 75 mm recoilless rounds.

More than 1,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., have begun arriving in Kabul.

Nelson said the mission for the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment will be to help provide security and stability for democratic elections scheduled for Oct. 9.

Military officials said the deployment of the 82nd troops is separate from the overall Operation Enduring Freedom Force rotation.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan releases and statements.)

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