War on Terrorism

Friday, August 18, 2006

Coalition Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan; Forces Kill Extremists, Uncover Weapons

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2006 – Two coalition soldiers were killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan Aug. 16 and yesterday, and coalition forces killed eight extremists and discovered a weapons cache, U.S. military officials reported. A coalition soldier was killed yesterday during a battle with extremists just west of Asadabad, in Kunar province. In addition, one wounded coalition soldier was evacuated to a nearby coalition treatment facility, where he remains in stable condition.

Reports indicate the fight started when extremists attacked a coalition patrol about seven kilometers east of the coalition forward operating base. In response to the enemy attack, coalition troops pounded extremist positions with direct and joint fires, but have not confirmed how much damage was inflicted. "Our fallen comrade served and died here so that others may enjoy the fruits of democracy," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. James Terry, Combined Joint Task Force 76 deputy commanding general for operations. "He will not be forgotten."

A coalition member was killed Aug. 16 in southeastern Afghanistan when the vehicle he was traveling in struck a Soviet-era mine. Reports indicate recent rains in the area exposed the old mine, and enemy action was not the cause. The vehicle struck the mine south of Bermel, in Paktika province, while on a routine patrol in the area. Officials did not release the nationalities of the deceased soldiers. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Elsewhere, coalition forces killed eight extremists Aug. 16 in the Asadabad district of Kunar province in response to direct small-arms fire. The coalition responded to the attack with small arms, machine gun fire and grenades. "Our commitment will remain steadfast to defeat this enemy, to ensure the security of the region," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman.

In another operation, coalition forces discovered a weapons cache while searching an extremist compound in the Nika district of Paktika province yesterday. The cache included six rocket-propelled-grenade rounds, a battery, a machine gun barrel, 40 machine gun rounds, a tail boom, a firebox, 70 blasting caps, and several mortar rounds. "These weapons will no longer be a threat to the lives of Afghan civilians," Fitzpatrick said. "We will continue to conduct operations to remove these types of deadly weapons wherever we find them to ensure a peaceful existence for the Afghan people."

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