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US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan - 2003-06-27

U.S. military officials in Afghanistan say a special forces soldier has been killed in fighting in the southeastern part of the country.

A U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan says two Afghan soldiers were wounded in the attack near Gardez, in the border province of Paktia. He said the troops were on patrol when they were attacked, but gave no further details.

Attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces and Afghan troops have increased in recent months. Remnants of the deposed Taleban government and the al-Qaida terrorist network are blamed for the violence.

Two U.S. soldiers were killed last April in a clash in neighboring Paktika province and another two were killed in an ambush in southern Afghanistan at the end of March.

Afghan officials believe fighters loyal to renegade Afghan leader Gulbuddin Hekmaytar have also joined with these anti-government forces. Washington has declared Mr. Hekmatyar a terrorist. The former Afghan prime minister has been issuing statements from his hideouts in Afghanistan, urging Afghans to topple U.S. backed President Hamid Karzai's government.

The latest attack against U.S.-led forces comes days after Taleban leader Mullah Omar reportedly created a war council to organize resistance against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

The U.S.-led coalition removed the Taleban from power in late 2001 but Mullah Omar and al-Qaida's leader Osama bin Laden have yet to be caught.

Nevertheless, President Karzai, in a statement earlier this week, dismissed the formation of the council as meaningless. Mr. Karzai says the Taleban has the ability to carry out terrorist attacks but it poses no threat to his government.