Troops kill Afghan fighter during nighttime raid

Associated Press

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — U.S. Special Forces killed a suspected enemy fighter in a gun battle during a night raid in southern Afghanistan, an army spokesman said Tuesday.

Thirty-six special force soldiers raided two compounds Monday night after intelligence reports said people in the area were planning attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, Col. Roger King told a news briefing at Bagram Air Base.

Seven people were taken into custody during the raid, King said.

King said he could not say where the raid took place because the operation was continuing.

About 11,500 troops from a 23-country coalition are in Afghanistan pursuing remnants of the Taliban regime — which was expelled from power in late 2001 — and hunting down fighters of the al-Qaida terrorist network who lived under Taliban protection.

It was not immediately clear if the dead man had belonged to either group, King said.

“The reason we knew he was an enemy fighter was because he picked up an AK and started popping caps — that normally is the defining moment,” King said, referring to an AK-47 assault rifle.

Southern Afghanistan was the birthplace of the Taliban.

Also on Monday, a U.S. soldier from the Charlie Company of the 27th Engineers Battalion lost part of his left foot and broke his right foot in several places after stepping on a mine at Bagram Air Base, King said.

The soldier, who was not named, was in stable condition and was being taken to a military hospital in Germany for treatment, King said.

The coalition’s command center at Bagram, north of Kabul, is a former Soviet air base that was heavily mined during the 1980s.