KABUL, Afghanistan – An American paratrooper was wounded Saturday when he stepped on a land mine while on patrol in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said in a statement.
The soldier's injuries were not life-threatening, the military said from its headquarters at Bagram Air Base, north of the capital, Kabul.
The accident occurred in the vicinity of Khost, 100 miles southeast of Kabul, near the border with Pakistan.
The soldier was treated at a U.S. base in Khost and was being transported to Bagram, the military said.
Two decades of warfare left an estimated 5 million to 10 million mines in Afghanistan, the vast majority of them placed by the Soviets during their 1979-1989 occupation of the country. With 310 square miles of mine fields, Afghanistan is one of the world's most heavily mined nations.
An estimated 200,000 Afghans were killed or wounded by mines during 23 years of war. As many as 150-300 people were killed each month in 2001 by mines or unexploded ordnance, according to U.N. figures.
Many of the U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have come in the same eastern region of the country near the Pakistan border, where remnants of the Taliban and Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network stage frequent attacks.
On Dec. 29, an American soldier was grazed in the head by a bullet during a confrontation with a Pakistani border guard at Shkhin, a small town on the Pakistan border where U.S. forces have a base. It was unclear why the Pakistani opened fire.
Earlier in December, Sgt. Steven Checo of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division was shot and killed while on a nighttime operation near Shkhin.
Checo was the 16th U.S. soldier killed in combat or hostile situations in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led anti-terror campaign began after the Sept. 11 attacks.