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Assault in Afghanistan leaves 13 dead

Daniel Cooney Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan – An assault on U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan left 11 rebels dead and also killed a U.S. service member and an Afghan soldier, the U.S. military said Monday.

The latest violence comes amid fears that crucial legislative elections in September may be threatened by an upsurge in militant attacks, which have left more than 750 people dead since March.

In fighting Monday, rebels attacked a patrol in southern Uruzgan province, setting off a gunbattle that killed the 13 fighters as well as wounding three U.S. service members and an Afghan soldier, a military statement said.

U.S. fighter jets and attack helicopters responded to the assault, it said. Eight insurgents were captured.

“This tragic loss strengthens our resolve to further the advance of a democratic Afghanistan,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jack Sterling, deputy commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-76.

The death brings to 173 the number of U.S. military personnel killed in and around Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001.

The latest death came a day after another U.S. service member was killed in a firefight in neighboring Helmand province.

Also on Sunday, a roadside bomb wounded six U.S. service members traveling in a convoy in eastern Kunar province. Militants then fired on the vehicles before fleeing when U.S. aircraft and artillery fired back, a separate U.S. military statement said.

It was not immediately known whether any enemy fighters were killed or wounded, it said.

The attacks occurred in the same mountainous area where a commando team was ambushed last month, leaving three Navy SEALs dead, and where a Special Forces helicopter was shot down, killing all 16 troops on board.

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