BAGRAM AIR BASE, July 27: Two Afghan militiamen were killed and five US soldiers wounded when a joint reconnaissance patrol was attacked in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, US officials said.

The troops were on a reconnaissance mission east of Khost, in eastern Paktia province, when they came under fire from a walled compound.

“Four US personnel were wounded in the initial exchange,” Roger King, a US spokesman at Bagram Air Base just north of Kabul, said. “The action lasted for several hours, and a fifth soldier was wounded before it ended.”

He said two Afghanistan militia force soldiers working alongside the Americans were killed. At least three of the attackers were killed and one attacker was wounded, King added. The wounded soldiers were all taken to Bagram air base for treatment.

King said the first four US casualties evacuated were “ambulatory”. The fifth casualty was on a stretcher when he arrived at Bagram by helicopter and was rushed into a waiting ambulance.

“They’re all receiving medical treatment right now,” US Sergeant Matthew Davio said at Bagram, adding that their wounds were “not life threatening”. Their names were withheld until families were contacted.

King said the wounded attacker was seized. The identities of the attackers were not immediately known.

The ambushed patrol, which King described as “small”, was drawn from a variety of units, including special forces, conventional forces and the Afghan militia Force. An American reaction force joined the battle. Less than 100 coalition soldiers were on the ground by the end of the fight.—Reuters

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