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Friendly Fire: 3 US Special Forces soldiers killed by B-52 raid

This in from the AP wire: Three US special forces were killed and 19 wounded when a B–52 bomber missed its target. The Pashtun tribal chief, named as leader of the interim government in Afghanistan, was also injured.
Five opposition fighters also died in the incident north of the last Taliban stronghold of Kandahar

Hamid Karzai, the Pashtun leader, was in the area when the bomb struck and was slightly injured. He was appointed to lead the interim Afghan government at UN-sponsored talks in Bonn.

The troops were hit when a B–52 flying on a bombing raid in support of anti–Taliban forces dropped a bomb "in close proximity to friendly forces," said a Pentagon statement.

Casualties were evacuated to a Marine base in southern Afghanistan for transfer to a medical facility outside the country, said Marine Capt. David Romley.Two US troops died in the attack and the third, a Special Forces soldier, died on the way to receive treatment. A number of anti–Taliban injured also were being treated at the base.

The deaths bring to four the number of Americans killed inside Afghanistan in the two–month war. CIA paramilitary Johnny "Mike" Spann was killed in a prisoner uprising while questioning forces captured in the fighting.

Today's bombing accident is the second known since the war began. Five US soldiers were seriously wounded when a US bomb went astray while warplanes were helping put down the uprising in which Spann was killed.

The base where the casualties were taken was established by Marines about 70 miles south west of Kandahar to help put more pressure on those holding out in the city. .

The Pentagon said an investigation was under way.

In addition to Mr Spann, four Americans, all military personnel, have been killed in connection with the fighting in Afghanistan. All died in accidents outside the country, two in a helicopter crash in Pakistan.

The Pentagon said a US soldier was wounded in the fighting near Kandahar yesterday. The special forces soldier was shot under the collarbone, but his injuries were not life–threatening, defense officials said. The soldier was working with one of the anti–Taliban groups surrounding Kandahar.



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