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US Investigates Ambush That Killed 2 Soldiers in Afghanistan Saturday - 2003-03-30


U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan say they are reviewing what went wrong Saturday when two U.S. Special Forces soldiers were killed in an ambush in southern Afghanistan. Coalition authorities say they have successfully concluded two large military offensives against in the southern and northeastern Afghanistan.

The two Special Forces soldiers died when they were ambushed while inspecting a school in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province. A third U.S. soldier and three Afghan soldiers were wounded. The attackers escaped.

Colonel Roger King, the spokesman for coalition forces at Bagram air base, said there will be a full review of Saturday's ambush. He said the incident shows terrorism remains a threat in Afghanistan.

"In the best of all possible worlds you find out where the enemy is in order to bring fire on them first. In this instance that did not happen. But, it does not mean we are going to stop operations in the area. It would probably point to the fact that we need to conduct more operations in the area," he said.

Coalition authorities said they have successfully concluded operation "Valiant Strike" in the rugged Samighar mountain range of southern Kandahar province, and operation "Desert Lion" in northeast Afghanistan. A number of suspects and several large weapons caches were seized in operation "Valiant Strike" one of the biggest coalition military offensives in months.

Two days ago a water engineer working for the International Committee of the Red Cross was murdered in southern Oruzgun province.

According to local press reports, Ricardo Mungia, a Swiss citizen originally from El Salvador, was singled out for execution by armed men who stopped his vehicle because he was a westerner and not a Muslim.

The incident has shaken the large development and relief community in Afghanistan. U.N. officials say they have ordered staff to avoid road traffic in southern Afghanistan for the time being.