U.S. Soldier Among 9 Dead in Afghanistan as Fighting Rages

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by KenH, May 20, 2006.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    US soldier among nine dead in Afghanistan as fighting rages
    Sat May 20, 2:48 AM ET

    Fierce battles raged in Afghanistan with a US soldier, two Afghan troops and six Taliban the latest to die in the heaviest fighting in the country for years.

    Officials were meanwhile trying to establish Saturday if a seriously wounded one-legged militant captured after heavy gun battle was Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, said to be one of the brains behind the insurgency.

    A new battle involving about 100 soldiers and an equal number of Taliban erupted in southern Helmand province late Friday and continued into Saturday, military officials said.

    The Afghan army had called for air support from coalition forces, the army commander for southern Afghanistan, General Rahmatullah Raufi, told AFP.

    The unit was attacked as it was moving away from a district in Helmand where they had clashed with Taliban fighters late Friday.

    An Afghan army soldier was killed in that encounter, in an area around Sangin and Kajaki districts, and four were wounded, he said. "Six Taliban have been killed," he said.

    Another soldier was killed and three wounded in the fighting early Saturday, another army officer said on condition of anonymity.

    The clash was not far from a major battle that erupted in Helmand's Musa Qala district on Wednesday. Sixty "enemy fighters" and 16 police were killed, the coalition said in a statement Friday.

    The Musa Qala battle was one of several major clashes in Afghanistan over the past few days that have left around 200 Taliban dead in some of the heaviest fighting in the country since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001.

    About 25 troops, police and civilians have also been killed, including a Canadian who became the country's first woman to be killed in battle since World War II.

    A US soldier was meanwhile killed and six wounded Friday when coalition forces clashed with rebels in southern Uruzgan province, the US-led coalition said Saturday.

    Around 25 other US soldiers have already died in Afghanistan this year, 13 of them in hostile action.

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