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U-S Soldiers in Afghanistan Celebrate July Fourth Under Heavy Guard - 2002-07-04


U-S soldiers in Afghanistan have celebrated Independence Day (today) under red, white and blue American flags, with barbecues and basketball games rounding out the holiday festivities.

Military officials say security was stepped-up at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul after the U-S State Department warned that terrorists might stage an attack on the patriotic holiday.

On the base's perimeter, armed soldiers stood guard while the troops inside played basketball on the helicopter pad and barbecued seven-thousand T-bone steaks that were flown in from (the U-S state of) Nebraska for the party.

Meanwhile, in Kabul today (Thursday), a group of Afghans held a peaceful demonstration in Kabul to protest a U-S air raid they say killed more than 40 civilians attending a wedding party.

A number of women also participated in the rally in front of U-N offices, carrying banners denouncing the attack in Uruzgan province. The protesters say they support the U-S led coalition forces fighting remnants of the ousted Taleban regime and the al-Qaida, but can not tolerate U-S attacks on civilian targets.

A team of U-S and Afghan officials investigating the incident have toured the site of the attack - a village north of Kandahar. The team returns to Kabul Friday.

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