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Taliban, al Qaeda Forces Fire on Special Forces Troops

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2002 – Armed enemy Afghans fired on Special Forces soldiers in two instances, Nov. 7, DoD officials said Nov. 8.

In one incident near the village of Khowst, eight Taliban and al Qaeda sympathizers fired on Special Forces soldiers operating three kilometers from their forward base. The team returned fire on the Afghans who were armed with AK- 47s and light machine guns.

The soldiers called for aerial support. An A-10 Thunderbolt II and an AH-64 Apache helicopter responded. The A-10 did not fire, but the Apache fired 30 rounds of 30 mm ammunition and 14 rockets. Teams are assessing the damage. There were no American casualties.

A second incident occurred near Deh Rawod. Other Special Forces soldiers took fire from two armed Afghans. The soldiers returned fire and killed one of the men. The other escaped.

Service members of Task Force Panther launched four air assaults on areas northeast of Khowst. Officials said the objective is to deny the enemy the ability to find sanctuary in the region.

A U.S. Central Command spokesman said officials are not surprised by the increase in resistance in the area. "I don't think of this as an escalation," said Marine Maj. Pete Mitchell. "It's a reflection of the inroads we've made in eastern Afghanistan."

Mitchell said coalition forces are going into places that have not seen large coalition presence before. "We're stirring up the beehives, and this is (the Taliban and al Qaeda) reaction."

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