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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
US soldiers caught in Afghan ambush
Wounded US soldier is carried from an aircraft
The wounded were evacuated to Bagram
At least four American soldiers have been wounded and two Afghan militia members accompanying them killed when they came under small arms fire in the south-east of Afghanistan, US military officials have said.

The attack took place as the group was carrying out a reconnaissance mission about 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) east of the town of Khost.

The soldiers were fired on from a walled compound, but their injuries were not life-threatening, a US military spokesman in Afghanistan said.

They were evacuated to the main American military base at Bagram, north of the capital, Kabul.

"The initial reports indicate that it was an ambush," said Sergeant Matthew Davio, US military spokesman at Bagram Air Base, just north of Kabul.

Attacks

Local fighters are helping the US forces

The main Afghan commander in the area, Padsha Khan Zadran, said about 600 soldiers had been spread out near the village of Atkheil, looking for al-Qaeda militants believed to be hiding out there.

The province of Khost, particularly areas near the Pakistan border, is one of the places where America is concentrating its efforts to target al-Qaeda and Taleban remnants.

BBC's Kate Clark in Kabul says the US base near Khost comes under regular, if largely ineffective, rocket attack.

American soldiers are based in Afghanistan as part of a US campaign to root out Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, which is blamed for the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

About 40 American soldiers have been killed in combat and non-combat incidents and more than 340 have been wounded in the US operation in Afghanistan that began last October.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Helen Simms
"The soldiers were ambushed on one of their many operations to flush out the opposition"
Colonel Roger King, US military spokesman
"The action lasted for several hours and a fifth soldier was injured before it ended"

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27 Jul 02 | South Asia
21 Jul 02 | South Asia
12 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
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