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U.S. Special Forces Trooper Killed by Hostile Fire

Aired January 4, 2002 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go to TALKBACK LIVE in just a moment. That is next. But first, we want to update you on the lead story we're following at this. And that is reports out of Afghanistan of the first U.S. service member to die in hostile action. Now, the Pentagon confirming that an Army Special Forces trooper died today as a result of an exchange of smalls-arm fire, and for more on what happened, let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara, what more have you learned?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Judy -- good afternoon.

We have just learned from senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community that a CIA officer was also wounded in this incident. This was apparently a team of military and CIA specialists that were working in this area -- Army Special Forces, including possibly some members of the very elite, very secret Delta Force working with members of the CIA. A CIA officer was wounded in the incident. He has been removed. We have no further word on his medical condition, but we are told he is receiving medical treatment.

So in addition to the soldier, there is another -- who died, there is another wounded person. We are told that's it at the moment. But we have also learned that a quick reaction force of military personnel moved into the area very quickly once the incident began, and helped to remove all members of this Special Forces team and CIA team. And one senior official here in the Pentagon said it has been described as an ambush, that this team of U.S. specialists walked into an ambush and encountered small-arms fire. And this all occurred in the Gardez area in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Barbara, generally what was going on? What has been going on in that area with U.S. forces?

STARR: Well, what this Special Forces-CIA team was doing was overtly, in a somewhat public fashion, establishing contact with local tribal leaders, moving through the area, making friends, finding out what was going on in this region of eastern Afghanistan, a region that U.S. forces generally had not been operating in.

But the fact that we have now learned that some of these military people were, perhaps, members of the Delta Force and the CIA was in there, clearly there was also some covert work going on. They were gathering intelligence, and they clearly were tracking the possible movements of al Qaeda leadership throughout the area -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. CNN's Barbara Starr joining us from the Pentagon now with more information on today's news that the first U.S. service person to be killed as a result of hostile fire in Afghanistan, this news coming out just in the last couple of hours.

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