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U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan Come Under Fire

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2002 – A U.S. Special Forces training compound near Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, came under fire last night, but there were no reported casualties, according to U.S. Central Command officials.

At about 10 p.m., the compound received small arms fire and had three hand grenades thrown at it, officials said in a press statement released today. Afghan militia forces returned fire.

Tarin Kot is the capital of Oruzgan Province, where U.S. and Afghan investigators have been looking into the alleged July 1 friendly fire incident that reportedly killed and injured an undetermined number of Afghan civilians.

U.S. officials have said coalition forces were in the Oruzgan area that day looking for suspected Taliban members believed to be hiding there. U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers and AC-130 gunships struck several ground targets, including anti-aircraft artillery sites that were engaging the aircraft.

Pentagon officials said the area had been under surveillance for a number of months prior to the air strikes. A Pentagon spokesman today stressed it continues to be a dangerous area.

In other developments, CENTCOM officials noted that Combined Task Force 180 explosive ordnance disposal units have destroyed a large weapons cache near Orgun-E. They destroyed about 80 tons of ammunition, mines and rockets, as well as about a million rounds of 12.7 mm and 14.5 mm heavy machine gun ammunition. They said much of the cache was determined to be unstable, unusable and a safety hazard.

In an earlier release, CENTCOM officials announced that an Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle crashed July 10 at about 12:05 a.m. EDT while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They said the crash was not a result of hostile fire and its cause is being investigating.

The Global Hawk provides battlefield commanders near real- time, high-resolution intelligence imagery. Flying at extremely high altitudes, officials said, Global Hawks can survey large areas with pinpoint accuracy to give military decision-makers the most current information about enemy personnel and resources.

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