SLUG: 2-284889 Afghan Pentagaon (L)
INTRO: A U-S Army Special Forces soldier has been killed in a firefight in eastern Afghanistan. V-O-A Pentagon Correspondent Alex Belida reports he is the first member of the U-S military to die as a result of hostile fire in the three-month old campaign.
TEXT: The death was confirmed by Army four-star General Tommy Franks, commander of the U-S Central Command and the man in charge of the military operation in Afghanistan.
General Franks says the soldier was part of a team working with what he describes as local tribal elements.
What we know right now is that the mission that he was on, as a part of a team, was to coordinate with some local tribal elements in the vicinity of Gardez-Khost, in order to facilitate cooperation between our forces in the region and the local tribal elements in that region.
Details of the incident are sketchy and it is unclear whether the U-S led team was ambushed by terrorists, Taleban or bandits. However Pentagon sources say another American, working for the Central Intelligence Agency, was wounded in the same firefight.
A C-I-A agent was killed earlier in the campaign in Afghanistan --- during a prison uprising by detained al-Qaida and Taleban fighters. In addition, three soldiers were killed when they were mistakenly hit by a U-S air-strike.
Officials say the latest death underscores their repeated warnings that Afghanistan remains a dangerous place and that there are still pockets of al-Qaida and Taleban resistance.
U-S warplanes on Friday bombed a suspected al-Qaida base near the eastern Afghan border with Pakistan after detecting fresh activity by terrorists apparently regrouping there.
It was the second straight day the facility including a training camp and cave complex was hit by American air-strikes. (Signed)
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