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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Officials to Investigate Incident that Killed U. S. , Canadian Troops

Military officials are investigating whether friendly fire caused the March 29 deaths of one American and one Canadian soldier and wounds to five other coalition servicemembers in Afghanistan.

At about 1:30 a. m. March 29, enemy forces attacked a coalition base in the Sangin district of Helmand province with direct and indirect fire. The base, known as Forward Operating Base Robinson, is strategically located to support Afghan National Army efforts to extend the reach of the Afghan government and to allow Afghan and U. S. forces to defeat enemy activity by denying insurgents sanctuary, freedom of movement and the ability to reconstitute, U. S. officials said.

Afghan, U. S. and Canadian forces defended the base.

Defending against the attack, coalition forces used small-arms fire and close-air support. One Canadian and one U. S. soldier were killed. Three Canadians, one U. S. servicemember and one Afghan National Army soldier were wounded.

After reviewing initial reports of enemy contact, the Combined Forces Command Afghanistan commander determined an investigation was warranted. The commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76 formed a U. S., Canadian and Afghan investigation team made up of personnel with operational and technical expertise. The result will be three separate national investigative reports.

"The investigation will determine all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, including whether any of the casualties may have resulted from friendly fire," U. S. officials in Afghanistan said in a statement.

At least 12 insurgents were killed in the immediate vicinity of the operating base. Another 20 were killed after coalition forces pursued them. In the course of their pursuit, coalition forces destroyed two Taliban headquarters buildings and overran a Taliban compound. The coalition forces discovered and destroyed large caches of munitions, including weapons and materials for making improvised explosive devices.
(Above courtesy of DoD - American Forces Press Service and compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases)

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