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Coalition Medics Respond to Afghanistan School Bombing

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2004 – Coalition special operations forces medics, along with Afghan National Army personnel, rushed to help Afghan victims of an Aug. 28 explosion that ripped through a school in Zormat, killing 10 people, including a man, five teens and four young children. About 15 other people were injured.

"The coalition is determined to assist local authorities in bringing the perpetrators of this horrific act to justice," said a coalition official at the scene, according to a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release. "Whether a criminal act or a terrorist action, this tragedy underscores the need for continuing to focus on bringing security to Afghanistan."

The coalition medics, experts in treating battlefield injuries, left some team members behind at the nearby coalition clinic to treat patients and coordinate medical evacuation of personnel to nearby hospitals, the release said.

Afghan government officials condemned the attack as the work of "enemies of Afghanistan." Though the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, the release reported, witnesses said the blast may have come from a motorcycle parked at the school as the students met for an afternoon study session.

At a news conference in the Afghan capital of Kabul today, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spokesman Army Maj. Scott Nelson condemned the bombing.

"We are shocked and deeply upset that enemies of Afghanistan are targeting young children in school," Nelson said. "The coalition condemns attacks on innocent civilians. We will provide every assistance to the government of Afghanistan to find who's responsible for this desperate and callous attack and bring him or her to justice."

Nelson also expressed the command's condolences to those affected by the school bombing and a separate attack Aug. 29 at a police training facility in Kabul that left nine people dead.

At the same news conference, Nelson provided details about an operation in Afghanistan's Zabulk province that resulted in the death of senior enemy leader who the major said posed "a serious threat to the security of Afghanistan."

Rozi Khan was killed in "a well-planned strike mission by coalition special operations forces and Afghan military forces," Nelson said.

"Khan was killed after he opened fire during the surprise strike on the anti- coalition compound," Nelson said. The forces were conducting a cordon-and- search mission based on intelligence reports of Taliban activity in the area, he added.

Nelson said Khan is believed to be responsible for attacking coalition forces, laying mines, kidnapping non-governmental organization and road workers, and recruiting enemy insurgents. He was found with nearly $10,000 in U.S. dollars and Pakistan rupees, an AK-47 assault rifle, six magazines of ammunition and a pistol.

"The coalition will continue to seek out and destroy terrorist organizations and their infrastructure to help ensure security in Afghanistan," Nelson said.

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