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US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan - 2003-09-30

One U.S. soldier is dead and two others injured in fighting in southeastern Afghanistan. At least two militants were also killed. The fighting took place Monday near the town of Shkin, in Paktika Province, close to the Pakistani border.

The area hosts a small coalition forces base and is a site of frequent clashes pitting U.S. and Afghan troops against militants loyal to the country's former hardline Islamic Taleban regime.

In July, coalition forces launched an offensive, called Warrior Sweep, to rid southeastern provinces of Taleban remnants and other insurgent elements. But sporadic fighting continues.

Afghan officials say Taleban fighters have been taking refugee in neighboring Pakistan, from where they stage cross border attacks.

U.S. and Afghan forces ousted the Taleban regime in 2001, after it gave refuge to al-Qaida terrorists, including leader Osama bin Laden.

U.S. and NATO troops are helping provide security as Afghanistan rebuilds after decades of war.