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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 July, 2005, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
US rescues soldier in Afghanistan
US troops have rescued a special forces soldier missing in Afghanistan for almost a week, US officials have told the BBC.

A four-man special forces unit disappeared in eastern Konar province on 28 June, and a Chinook helicopter looking for them was later shot down.

The rescued soldier was reported to have avoided capture in the days since his disappearance, US officials said.

Sixteen US troops died when the Chinook was hit by suspected Taleban fighters.

The downing of the helicopter was the biggest single US loss of life in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taleban government in late 2001.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, US military officials said the soldier had evaded the Taleban in the mountainous region throughout the past week.

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Attempts to rescue the four-man team after the Chinook crash had been hampered by bad weather.

Bad weather

There has been no word on the fate of the remaining three members of his team, who have reportedly not made radio contact since their disappearance.

The BBC's Andrew North, in eastern Afghanistan, says the rescued soldier reportedly pointed the US search team in the direction where other members of the team had gone, but their whereabouts and condition still remains unclear.

Claims by a Taleban spokesman that they had captured the men have been denied by the US.

Names and details of the 16 troops who died on board the Chinook have already been released by the US military.

US officials said it had been a "lucky shot" by the suspected Taleban fighters that brought down the helicopter.

Escalating violence in southern and eastern Afghanistan has seen some 500 people killed in recent weeks, mainly suspected militants.

Civilians have been among the casualties, with the US military conceding that some may have died in a bombing raid on Friday in Konar province.

The US has sent additional troops to the province as part of a new operation - Operation Flier - against militants in the region, ahead of parliamentary elections due in September.


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The fate of the three other soldiers remains unknown



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