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Soldier Injured, Civilians Killed in Afghanistan Convoy Attack

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2007 – A coalition servicemember was injured, eight Afghan civilians were killed and 35 civilians were wounded today when militants assaulted a coalition forces convoy as it moved east along Highway 1 in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, military officials reported.

Earlier accounts said as many as 16 civilians caught in the crossfire had been killed, but an updated release early this afternoon from Combined Joint Task Force 76 headquarters at Bagram Air Base contained what officials called “the most accurate numbers to date.”

The five-vehicle convoy was moving through a crowded market place near Bari Kot, located in the Muhmand Dara district, when militants attacked the convoy from several directions with small-arms fire and a vehicle-borne bomb, officials said.

Coalition forces returned fire, and along with Afghan police and army forces, secured the area and provided immediate on-site medical attention to the wounded civilians.

A coalition servicemember was wounded and later was treated at a nearby base. No report was available on the servicemember’s condition or nationality.

“We regret the death of innocent Afghan citizens as a result of the Taliban extremists’ cowardly act,” Army Lt. Col. David Accetta, a coalition forces spokesman, said. “Once again the terrorists demonstrated their blatant disregard for human life by attacking coalition forces in a populated area, knowing full well that innocent Afghans would be killed and wounded in the attack.

“Those who commit and plan these inhuman acts are attempting to stand in the way of the Afghan government’s objectives of peace and security,” he added

Afghan and coalition forces continue to investigate the incident.

In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan and coalition forces arrested a known terrorist and seven other suspects early March 2 in the Gorwek Valley area of Paktika province.

Officials said reliable information led the combined force to the compound, where the inhabitants surrendered peacefully. They were arrested in connection with aiding terrorist fighters and facilitating terrorist operations.

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 76 news releases.)

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