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B-52 backs U.S. forces in Afghanistan

A B-52 bomber supports U.S. Army soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan
A B-52 bomber supports U.S. Army soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan

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BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (CNN) -- U.S. Special Forces came under intense fire in western Afghanistan over the weekend, needing the firepower of a B-52 bomber to deter their attackers.

A group of about 10 Special Forces members were on a regular patrol Sunday, gathering information near Shindand air base in southern Herat province, when they were peppered with large and small arms fire, military spokesman Col. Roger King said on Monday.

Pinned down by the onslaught, King said the troops called in "close air support" from a B-52 bomber on regular patrol over Afghanistan, which dropped seven large bombs, ending the confrontation.

The Special Forces were under fire for just over an hour, King said, and suffered no casualties. He said it was uncertain if the attackers knew who they were firing on and if the bombing had inflicted any casualties on them.

The attack on the Special Forces came in a region of Afghanistan where forces loyal to ethnic Pashtun commander Ammanullah Khan and Ismail Khan, the Tajik governor of Herat have been battling for supremacy.

King said the bombing had nothing to do with any factional fighting and U.S. forces "never get involved" in disputes between rival warlords.

The last time a B-52 was called into action in Afghanistan was July 1 in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan -- an attack that killed dozens of civilians and wounded more than 100.

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