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U.S. Troops Attacked in Afghanistan

April 14, 2002

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BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) _ American-led forces were shot at while on patrol in Afghanistan and believe they killed ``several terrorists″ when they returned fire, a U.S. military spokesman said Sunday.

After weeks of no reported combat with al-Qaida or Taliban fighters, Maj. Bryan Hilferty said a joint patrol of Afghan soldiers and U.S. special forces came under fire Saturday. He would not say where the attack happened, but said no Afghans or Americans were hurt.

The incident happened before dawn, and the allied soldiers called in an AC-130 gunship to drive off the attackers, Hilferty said here.

``U.S. forces and Afghan allies received ineffective fire yesterday, returned fire and killed several terrorists,″ he said without saying how many.

Also Saturday, unidentified people fired three rockets at the U.S.-controlled airstrip outside the southeastern city of Khost, according to a local leader, Fazal Mir.

Mir said by phone that the rockets were fired from a close distance at around midnight. The building that was hit did not house any Americans, but three Afghans were injured and one is in critical condition, he said.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Elsewhere, U.S. special forces and Afghan soldiers detained several suspected enemy fighters, bringing the total number of prisoners held in Afghanistan to around 300, Hilferty said. He would not say where they were captured nor the circumstances.

At two other unspecified locations in Afghanistan on Saturday, allied troops found more weapons caches, documents, ammunition and equipment, Hilferty said without elaboration.

U.S. and other coalition troops have been searching the mountains of southeastern Afghanistan for al-Qaida and Taliban fugitives since the end of Operation Anaconda last month. The operation targeted al-Qaida and Taliban forces in Paktia province northwest of Khost.

Update hourly