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U.S. backs away from term 'ambush' in soldier death

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon is backing away from calling the shooting in which a U.S. soldier was killed and a CIA operative wounded in eastern Afghanistan last week an "ambush."

Initially after Army Sgt. 1st class Nathan Ross Chapman was killed, officials quickly called it an ambush and said the team of Special Forces and CIA personnel was "set up" to be hit by small arms gunfire after leaving a meeting with local tribal chiefs near the city of Gardez.

The team had been working in the region only for a short time, trying to make friends with local tribes and learn more about the movements of al Qaeda in the region.

Tuesday, Pentagon officials began to change their wording both publicly and privately.

Asked if the attack was an ambush, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "I'm going to avoid characterizing that situation with those kinds of words. I mean, we just don't know yet. That's why I said we need to complete the investigation and determine the best we can what happened."

A senior Defense official told CNN that there isn't enough evidence yet to indicate whether the shooting was pre-planned. He said the team had left a meeting with local officials and was traveling by vehicle on a mountain road when shooting broke out.

There is so far no specific evidence that the team was deliberately targeted by someone they had previously considered friendly, but the investigation is ongoing.



 
 
 
 



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