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US Soldier Killed, 9 Wounded in Afghan Blast - 2004-02-14

A land mine explosion in Afghanistan has killed one U.S. soldier and injured nine others, while two Afghans have been killed in a separate attack.

A U.S. military spokesman, Lieutenant Bryan Hilferty, says the explosion occurred on Friday when a U.S. military vehicle hit an anti-tank mine near the Afghan town of Ghazni. He gave details of the incident at a news conference in Kabul.

"One U.S. soldier was killed and nine wounded by a mine near Ghazni," he said. "Four of the soldiers were treated on the scene and the others were medically evacuated by helicopter to our combat surgical hospital of Bagram Airbase."

Lt. Hilferty says the U.S. soldiers were on a routine patrol northwest of Ghazni. He says an investigation is under way to determine whether it was a deliberate attack or a leftover mine. Either way, he said, "the fight against enemies of Afghanistan and the fight for peace will continue."

An accidental blast at an ammunition dump near the same Afghan town two weeks ago had killed eight U.S. soldiers.

Also on Friday, two Afghans were killed and six others were injured in an explosion at a government military post in the eastern border town of Khost.

That attack came hours after more than 20 rockets reportedly landed near the city's airport, where U.S.-led forces are based. U.S. military officials reported no casualties from that attack.

The United States is leading a multinational anti-terrorism force of about 12,000 soldiers, mostly Americans, who are hunting remnants of the former Taleban government and the al-Qaida terror network in Afghanistan.