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Coalition Troops Assist Afghans in Kandahar After Bombing

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2005 – Coalition forces treated more than a dozen Afghans wounded this morning in a bombing in Kandahar that killed five and injured up to 40 people.

About 11:30 a.m., a coalition patrol reported seeing a vehicle explosion in the city. Afghan police secured the area so medical personnel could treat the wounded. A patrol of coalition soldiers and medics also responded to the scene, said Brig. Gen. Jack Sterling, deputy commander of Combined Task Force 76.

"This is a horrible act on the innocent people of Kandahar," he said. "Coalition troops are trained to react in these situations. Our troops will continue to support the Afghan people in their effort to live in a country free of violence."

Following the blast, more than two dozen Afghans were sent to a local hospital for treatment. Thirteen injured Afghans were taken to the coalition base at Kandahar Airfield for treatment. Initial reports were that the patients, many of whom received shrapnel wounds, were in stable condition.

In a separate incident, coalition forces reported another blast on the western edge of Kandahar. Military police responded to what is initially thought to be an improvised explosive device, pending an investigation. No injuries were reported from that explosion. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had addressed troops in the Afghan capital of Kabul, about 240 miles away, earlier in the morning.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a landmine explosion killed one U.S. soldier and wounded four others in Herat province on March 16.

Soldiers assigned to a military police unit in western Afghanistan were conducting patrols March 15 about 12 miles south of Shindand, a town in Herat province when one of their two vehicles became stuck in mud.

During recovery efforts the following morning, an armored Humvee detonated an anti-tank mine that killed one soldier and wounded four more. Medical evacuation helicopters arrived, but could not land because of more land mines in the area. A specialized helicopter rescue crew trained to handle difficult extractions deployed to the scene and hoisted the injured soldiers into the aircraft. Ordnance disposal units were brought in to clear a path through the mines to the damaged Humvee.

The wounded soldiers were taken to the U.S. base near Shindand, where two were treated and returned to duty. Two others were further evacuated to the U.S. military hospital at Bagram Airfield, where both were reported to be in stable condition.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, an Afghan civilian vehicle detonated a land mine near where the U.S. vehicle was hit. Five Afghans were killed in the blast, and six others were wounded. Coalition forces evacuated three of the Afghan wounded to a U.S. medical facility near Kandahar. The others were treated at Afghan hospitals. (Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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