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Two U.S. Troops Die in 2nd 'Friendly Fire' Accident

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2001 – Two U.S. special operations service members were killed today and as many as 20 others were injured in a friendly fire incident north of Kandahar, Afghanistan, Defense officials said.

A U.S. B-52 bomber dropped a 2,000-pound precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition near the troops at about 12:30 a.m. Eastern time, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said.

The injured Americans and an indeterminate number of wounded Afghan opposition troops were moved to a coalition- held base camp south of Kandahar. Depending on their injuries, some may be evacuated for more comprehensive medical treatment.

Clarke said DoD is withholding the names of those killed and wounded until their families are notified. She said she had no details regarding the accident, but that U.S. Central Command is investigating.

In a separate incident Dec. 4, a U.S. service member was shot in the shoulder in Afghanistan and is reported to be in stable condition in a U.S. medical facility in Oman, a DoD spokesman said. Officials released no other information on this person.

Clarke said the department's thoughts and prayers are with the injured service members and the families of those killed and wounded.

"It just underscores what we don't say often enough around here -- every single day there are men and women willing to put their necks on the line and put themselves in grave danger, and we appreciate what they do," she said.

The accident is the second friendly fire incident involving U.S. troops in Afghanistan. In the first, Nov. 25, four soldiers and an airman were injured during an air strike intended to quell a prison riot near Mazar-e Sharif. The five were evacuated to Germany for medical treatment.

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