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Bomb Kills Two U.S. Soldiers, Injures One in Afghanistan

By John Lancaster
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, November 25, 2004; Page A24

NEW DELHI, Nov. 24 -- Two U.S. soldiers were killed and a third was wounded Wednesday when a bomb exploded as they drove through an area of central Afghanistan where Taliban fighters are said to be particularly active, the U.S. military announced in Kabul.

The soldiers were patrolling in the Deh Rawud district of Uruzgan province, 250 miles southwest of Kabul, when an improvised explosive device detonated as their vehicle crossed a dry riverbed, according to witnesses quoted by the Reuters news agency. More than 100 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan since the United States invaded the country in 2001 and ousted the Taliban government.

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Taliban fighters have remained active in Afghanistan, especially in the south and east, and they have come under growing pressure in recent months as Pakistani forces have stepped up efforts to deny them refuge in rugged tribal provinces bordering Afghanistan.

Following last month's relatively peaceful presidential election, which the Taliban had vowed to disrupt, U.S. and Afghan officials suggested that Muslim insurgents were increasingly on the run. There are about 17,000 U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon reported.

Last month, two U.S. soldiers were killed and three were wounded in a bomb attack as they patrolled the Deh Rawud district, where on Tuesday an Afghan government official and his two bodyguards were ambushed and killed by Taliban fighters, Reuters reported.

Maj. Mark McCann, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, said of Wednesday's bombing: "We regret to say that two U.S. soldiers were killed and one was wounded." The injured soldier, he added, "was evacuated to a nearby U.S. medical facility and is currently in stable condition." The names of the dead were not immediately available pending notification of next of kin.

Also Wednesday, Taliban fighters fired rockets at the U.S. base in Orgun, near the border with Pakistan in southeastern Paktika province, the military said in a statement. The rockets killed one Afghan and injured another, who was evacuated to a U.S. base in nearby Khost province for treatment, the statement said.

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