KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Militants attacked U.S. troops
patrolling in southeastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing one
American soldier and wounding two with gunfire and rockets, the
military said.

In other violence yesterday, Afghan soldiers clashed with police
in the southern Zabul province and Afghan troops battled militiamen
in the city of Kandahar, killing two, according to local
officials.

The American patrol came under fire near Orgun, a town in
Paktika province where U.S. troops man a base close to the
Pakistani border, spokesman Maj. Mark McCann said.

The two wounded soldiers were rushed to a medical facility at
another base in neighboring Khost province, where they were in
stable condition, McCann said.

“The patrol received small arms fire and RPG fire,”
McCann said. “Unfortunately, one U.S. soldier was killed and
two wounded.”

None of the soldiers was identified.

In Zabul province, Afghan soldiers exchanged fire with police,
leaving several casualties and prompting U.S. forces to step in to
restore order, police and witnesses said.

The 90-minute gun battle started after Afghan National Army
troops disarmed police at a checkpoint and a bazaar in Qalat, the
provincial capital, said deputy police chief, Jailani Khan.

He insisted the army had no authority to disarm the police. The
fighting subsided after U.S. forces arrived and took over security.
He said there were some casualties, but he didn’t know how
many.

A shopkeeper who was reached by telephone from Kandahar said on
condition of anonymity that he saw at least three bodies.

American helicopters were still circling above the city.

U.S. military spokesman confirmed there had been an incident in
Qalat, but gave no details. Afghan army officials were not
immediately available to comment.

In a third incident yesterday, Afghan army soldiers opened fire
on provincial militiamen in the area of the Durai bazaar in
Kandahar city, killing two of them and wounding one, said Khalid
Pashtun, spokesman for the Kandahar governor.

He said the circumstances of the clash were still unclear and an
investigation was under way.

An ammunition depot at a compound used by Afghan army and U.S.
special forces in the city exploded late Sunday, wounding three
Afghan soldiers, Pashtun said.

It wasn’t clear what caused the blast. No U.S. personnel
were reported hurt.

The latest violence brought to at least 109 the number of U.S.
soldiers killed in and around Afghanistan since the launch of
Operation Enduring Freedom after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Fifty-eight of the Americans were killed in action, according to
a tally on the Web site of the U.S. Department of Defense, while
the rest died in accidents.

Most recently, Cpl. Billy Gomez died last Wednesday of injuries
from an Oct. 20 bomb attack on his vehicle in the same province as
Monday’s assault.

An airmen was killed Oct. 20 when his helicopter crashed in
western Afghanistan on a mission to evacuate an injured election
worker. The military said a technical problem brought down the
aircraft.

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