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Afghan, Coalition Forces Hit Militants Near Pakistan Border

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2004 – Afghan troops supported by coalition ground forces and warplanes fought an all-day pitched battle with militants near the Pakistani border Aug. 2.

The fighting began during the early morning in Khost province, according to a Coalition Press Information Center release. It eventually involved nearly 100 enemy troops in two major engagements that spanned the day.

A B-1B Lancer bomber, A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft, and AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 helicopters, plus American infantry, were employed to provide air and ground support to Afghan forces battling the militants, according to the release.

At the end of the day's fighting, one Afghan soldier had been killed and three others wounded. Officials noted one militant was killed and another was wounded, while another enemy was captured.

Officials believe the enemy carried additional wounded and dead off the battlefield.

In other news from Afghanistan, the Afghan government reportedly will deploy 11 battalions and two companies of Afghan National Army troops around the country to bolster security for the Oct. 9 national elections.

Also, more than 12,000 former members of disbanded militia have turned in their weapons as part of an Afghan government program, officials said. More than 10,000 of the former militia members have been enrolled in retraining programs to ease their return to civilian life.

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