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U.S. Troops in Afghan Firefight, Drop Leaflets in Southern Iraq

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2003 – U.S. Special Forces soldiers came under fire in Afghanistan March 12, prompting a firefight that left five enemy dead, military officials said.

A U.S. spokesman at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, reported this morning that enemy troops fired small arms and machine guns at the U.S. soldiers on the road between Khowst and Gardez in eastern Afghanistan, at about 3:20 p.m. local time.

The Americans called in close-air support, and coalition F-16 fighters and A-10 Thunderbolts responded. The aircraft reportedly dropped two 500-pound bombs and strafed the area with 30 mm rounds, killing five of the ambushers.

In a separate incident in Afghanistan early this morning, unknown forces fired a rocket at the U.S. base in Asadabad manned by troops of the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. Officials sent a patrol to investigate, but had no other details. No U.S. or coalition casualties were reported.

Elsewhere within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, coalition forces dropped 120,000 informational leaflets over southern Iraq March 12 at about 7 a.m. local time.

Command officials said the leaflets dropped over several areas south of Baghdad and north of Basrah conveyed information on coalition radio broadcasts, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, and injustices carried out by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime.

"One leaflet type encouraged Iraqi troops not to use weapons of mass destruction, while another contrasted Saddam Hussein's wealth with the poverty in which many Iraqis live," a CENTCOM release stated.

Copies of the leaflets in English and in Arabic can be seen on the Internet at www.centcom.mil/galleries/leaflets/showleaflets.asp.

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