An American soldier was in stable condition and on his way to a medical facility in Germany after being shot in the chest in a sniper attack in eastern Afghanistan, a military spokesman said Thursday.

U.S. soldiers, including both special forces and conventional troops, were on a reconnaissance patrol Wednesday evening near the Pakistani border when they were shot at, said Col. Roger King at Bagram air base, U.S. military headquarters in Afghanistan.

There was no information on who fired on the soldiers near the village of Lwara, in Paktika province about 90 miles south of Kabul. King said whoever was behind the attack fled before U.S. troops returned fire.

The wounded paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division was wearing a bulletproof vest, but the bullet entered near the armpit, where there is little protection. He has not been identified pending notification of next of kin, King said.

The soldier was evacuated to the town of Urgun and operated on by a surgical team, King said. He was then moved to Bagram. On Thursday afternoon medics carried him on a stretcher into a waiting C-17 cargo airplane, which took off for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

It was the third day in a row that U.S. troops have opened fire or been fired upon while searching the country for Taliban and Al Qaeda.

"We've got repeated small contacts," King said. "This could be the closest thing to an offensive they can mount."

In eastern Kunar province on Monday, soldiers killed two men who fired on them from a hilltop. On Tuesday, in the same area, soldiers killed four men in a passing vehicle. The soldiers said one man had attempted to fire an AK-47 at the troops but his weapon malfunctioned.