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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 08:59 GMT
US forces kill 10 in Afghanistan
US Army officer Colonel Wilkerson (l), a Brigade Commander of the 10th Mountain Division, looks for al-Qaeda caves
Remnants of the Taleban remain active
US soldiers in Afghanistan say they have found 10 bodies after American planes responded to an attack near an airfield in the east of the country.

A military spokesman said they had also detained one person after the attack, near the town of Khost.

They said one American soldier had been injured in the engagement.

A US commander in Afghanistan, Major General Frank Hagenbeck, has warned that Taleban and al-Qaeda forces are regrouping and could launch renewed attacks as the weather improves.

He said the fighters had considerable support from local people on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Map of Afghanistan showing, Kabul, Gardez and Khost
Khost is at the south-eastern end of the valley where the recent Operation Anaconda was staged.

That operation around Gardez - aimed at flushing out remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taleban from hiding places - ended this week.

The attack on the town came less than a day after gunmen challenging the authority of the city's newly appointed police chief shot at security forces, killing one person and injuring three others.

Gun battle

Army spokesman Major Bryan Hilferty, of the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Bagram air base, said: "Coalition forces in the Khost area were attacked by Taleban and al-Qaeda extremists using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns."

The gun battle occurred in the city's main market and forced people to shutter their shops, the Afghan Islamic Press reported, citing witnesses.

"It was a known coalition camp that was taken under fire. We fired back," Major Hilferty said.

Khost is close to the Pakistani border in an area of strong support for the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

There have been several bombings and shootings there in recent weeks.

The BBC's Suzannah Price
"They face hidden dangers"
See also:

19 Mar 02 | South Asia
US declares Anaconda a 'success'
19 Mar 02 | South Asia
Bush warns of battles ahead
11 Mar 02 | South Asia
Afghan forces gather for final push
13 Mar 02 | South Asia
Eyewitness: Discontent in Gardez
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