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Afghanistan: Clash Leaves Two U.S. Soldiers, Four Militants Dead

Qalat, Afghanistan; 1 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A weekend firefight in eastern Afghanistan has left two U.S. soldiers and four militants dead. The U.S. Central Command said a group of militants attacked its soldiers near Shkin in Paktika Province yesterday The Associated Press quoted an Afghan military commander as saying that intelligence from an informer among the former Taliban indicated more neo-Taliban reinforcement fighters had arrived in the province.

General Haji Saifullah Khan said the U.S.-allied Afghan forces have also brought in reinforcements.

The fighting in Paktika comes as U.S.-led coalition forces continue a large-scale operation against suspected neo-Taliban and Al-Qaeda bases in the mountains of the neighboring Zabul Province.

Military officials said the number of soldiers and guerrillas killed during a week of fighting in the area has risen to 85.