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U-S Forces in Afghanistan Kill 3 in Firefight with Unidentified Gunmen - 2002-05-31


U-S special forces in Afghanistan have killed three men in a firefight with an unidentified armed group near the southeastern Afghan town of Gardez.

Colonel Roger King told reporters at the allied headquarters at Bagram today (Friday) the heavily-armed men had automatic weapons and a grenade launcher. Colonel King said they appeared to take up defensive positions around a compound that U-S forces were moving to secure, and that the American side opened fire first.

Two other people were wounded and about 10 were taken into U-S custody.

Also today (Friday), a new American general took command of U-S-led coalition operations at the Bagram headquarters.

Lieutenant General Dan McNeill said his presence does not represent an escalation, but is aimed at streamlining the chain of command. He will report directly to U-S Central Command in the southern U-S state of Florida -- unlike his predecessor, who worked through U-S military officials in Kuwait.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General McNeill told the Associated Press that if the U-S-led coalition force needs to make adjustments because of Pakistan's withdrawal of troops from the Afghan border, it will.

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