Missing U.S. soldier's body found in Afghan river

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, November 11, 2009; 9:53 AM

KABUL -- A U.S. military dive team has discovered the submerged body of one of two American soldiers who went missing last week in a river in western Afghanistan.

The soldier, who has not been identified, was found Tuesday in the river in Baghdis province, according to U.S. military officials.

He and a second soldier, both paratroopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, went missing while their unit was searching the river in an effort to recover airdropped supplies.

The second soldier has not been found.

A military spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, said he did not know whether the unit came under any attack that could have prompted the two soldiers to go missing Nov. 4. Local Afghan officials said they believed the soldiers were swept away by the river's current.

The disappearance of the soldiers prompted an extensive search and rescue effort. During that process, U.S. and Afghan forces came under attack, setting off hours of fighting that killed eight Afghans, including four soldiers, three policemen and an interpreter, and wounded another 17 Afghan troops and five American troops.

Afghan officials say that several of those fatalities resulted from an errant NATO airstrike. U.S. military officials said they were investigating that possibility but have released no information on their conclusions.

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