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Special Ops Troops Kill Two Dozen Enemy Forces in Afghanistan

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2003 – American special operations forces killed roughly two dozen enemy forces after being attacked in Afghanistan July 19. While, elsewhere, nine coalition troops have been wounded in recent days.

In a statement out of Bagram this morning, Coalition Joint Task Force 180 spokesman Army Col. Rodney Davis described the fight. The engagement started when an "unknown-sized element" of enemy forces attacked a two-vehicle American convoy near the firebase at Spin Boldak, he said.

"The coalition forces drove through the 'kill zone', requested close-air support and engaged the enemy forces, killing approximately five enemy and pursuing the remaining forces into the surrounding hills," Davis said. "AH-64 Apaches (helicopters) provided air support making several passes on the hill, killing 17-19 more (enemy forces)."

No coalition troops were killed or wounded. Operations in the region continued, officials reported. Follow-up patrols found "indicators of wounded enemy," including clothing, shoes and discarded equipment, as well as expended ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade casings, Davis said.

These follow-on patrols led to another limited engagement with five enemy fighters July 20. "The special operations forces pursued the enemy, who broke contact," Davis said. Afghan government forces operating in the area discovered a large weapons cache and detained five people.

Nine coalition troops have been injured in separate incidents over the past several days. July 20, four Italian service members from Task Force Nibbio were injured when their vehicle ran into a ditch because of an "improvised explosive device" in the road about 20 kilometers southeast of Gardez.

"The soldiers were injured during the impact but reacted immediately by shooting towards the enemy," Davis said in his statement today. A Defense Department spokesman in the Pentagon said today that three of the Italian soldiers had been returned to duty and described the fourth soldier's injuries as "non-life-threatening."

Five American soldiers and one friendly Afghan service member were wounded in two other incidents July 18 and 19. A July 19 ambush with AK-47s and rocket- propelled grenades in Orgun-e wounded two Americans and the Afghan. A Bagram official said over the weekend that all the soldiers were in stable condition and would be treated at the U.S. Army hospital at Bagram Air Base.

An incident in Asadabad July 18 wounded three American soldiers and damaged a vehicle when an "improvised explosive devise" detonated in the middle of a convoy. These three soldiers were also evacuated to Bagram and are in stable condition, Davis said July 19.

Officials have not released any of the wounded soldiers' names.

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