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Two U.N. Workers Killed in Kabul Blast

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2004 – Two U.N. employees registering voters were killed by an improvised explosive device that went off inside a mosque today in Afghanistan's Ghazni Province.

The U.N. workers were part of the U.N. Assistance Mission Afghanistan. Two local nationals were also injured by the blast.

The two injured workers suffered serious injuries and were flown by a U.N. helicopter to the 325th Field Hospital at Bagram Air Base.

In Kabul, coalition forces are assisting in the search for survivors of a July 26 hospital collapse that left several dead, officials from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan reported today during a news conference.

The Jamhuriat Hospital in Afghanistan's capital collapsed while Chinese construction workers were renovating the building, killing several people. Many others were injured or trapped beneath the rubble, officials said.

The U.S. Army has put together a team of military and private engineers from several agencies working in the region to assist in rescue efforts, Army Col. John O'Dowd, of the Afghanistan Engineer District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Kabul, said.

He added that rescue and recovery assistance are also coming from the Afghan Ministries of Health and Interior, Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army.

The coalition "regrets the loss of life and expresses its condolences to the workers and their families," a spokesman said.

Elsewhere in Kabul, Afghan and U.S. coalition forces have been working closely to find hidden weapons caches in the city.

On July 27 near Deh Chopan, Afghan security forces led U.S. soldiers of Task Force Bronco to a weapons cache that included 37 rocket-propelled grenades, 102 107 mm rockets, four RPK light machine guns, six AK-47 assault rifles, one mine, and 40 82 mm mortar rounds.

Seventy 82 mm recoilless-rifle rounds, 85 SPG-9 recoilless-rifle rounds, 15 82 mm recoilless rifles, and 227 fuses were also found in the cache.

A Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release said munitions were in good condition and turned over for use by the Afghan National Army. Others were destroyed.

Meanwhile, Afghan citizens are helping the military find weapons as well, a separate release stated.

In other incidents July 27, Afghan civilians led coalition forces to improvised explosive devices in the Task Force Thunder area of operations.

The first IED was discovered by an Afghan civilian three kilometers from the coalition's Salerno base in Ghazni Province, the release stated. The device appeared to be a mine connected to a battery. However, officials noted, its components continue to be examined.

In the second incident, an Afghan man led Marines to an improvised explosive device 17 kilometers from the city of Ghazni. An Army explosive-ordnance team detonated the device, the release stated.

"The coalition is proud of the fact that these local citizens took responsibility for security in their communities by notifying coalition officials so that the explosive devices could be disposed of properly," the release said.

Also in Ghazni July 27, members of the provincial reconstruction team there delivered a large quantity of school supplies to village elders of the Nawabad region.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven J. Ford, the PRT commander, along with representatives of the PRT's Civil Military Operations Center and Civil Affairs Team-A, met with local elders to present a truckload of school supplies and 1,500 desks to the Bakaual School, a coalition spokesman said.

The delivery "continues to show the citizens of Ghazni Province that their government and the coalition forces are actively supporting reconstruction efforts and bringing humanitarian assistance to those areas that desperately need this help," the spokesman said.

In other developments, the democratic political process in Afghanistan is moving forward as scheduled October presidential and parliamentary elections draw near, according to a CFCA statement.

The official field of presidential candidates is over 20. This serves "as testament to the maturation of this process and will provide Afghans with an opportunity to shape their own future through free and fair elections," officials said.

Military officials noted registration efforts in the country have been quite successful, with more than 8 million Afghans registered, of which 41.5 percent are women.

"We stand by the Afghan people as they look forward to choosing their leaders in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections," a coalition spokesman said today.

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