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US Soldier Killed, 2 Wounded on Patrol in Afghanistan - 2004-06-07

The U.S. military in Afghanistan says one of its soldiers was killed and two were wounded while on patrol in the center of the country. The casualties come amid increasing attacks across Afghanistan by anti-government militants.

The U.S. headquarters in Afghanistan says the soldiers were traveling in a Humvee through Uruzgan when they struck a homemade land mine.

The incident comes one week after four U.S. soldiers were killed under similar circumstances in neighboring Zabul province.

In recent months, Afghanistan has seen an increase in attacks by anti-government insurgents led by the country's former Taleban regime.

The attacks have targeted the Afghan and U.S. militaries, as well as civilians, including aid workers.

U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Tucker Mansager attributes the rise in violent incidents to the insurgents' efforts to derail plans for national elections, currently scheduled for September.

Election workers seeking to register voters have come under attack repeatedly.

Colonel Mansager said U.S. forces will seek to provide security to the election workers, pointing to a case Sunday in which U.S. aircraft responded to an ambush on a United Nations team doing voter registration work. "Coalition air support was dispatched within minutes of a call for assistance from a UNAMA convoy that had been attacked by anti-coalition militants in the vicinity of Gardez," he said.

The 15 staff members traveling in the U.N. convoy escaped unharmed, and the U.N. mission says its election work will continue despite the incident.

Some aid agencies, however, have suspended operations due to the increasing violence.

An attack last week in the northwest of the country killed five relief workers with the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, prompting it to halt its work in the area.

An Italian agricultural aid organization also stopped its operations in northwest Afghanistan Monday, following a grenade attack on its compound.