More than a dozen suspected militants attacked a U.S. patrol in southern Afghanistan (search) on Sunday, and the resulting firefight left one American soldier dead and another wounded, the U.S. military said.

Between 15 and 20 fighters ambushed the patrol in Helmand province's Gereshk district, the military said in a statement. An insurgent was killed and two others were wounded.

An interpreter working for U.S. troops also was wounded in the attack.

The other fighters fled the area, and U.S. ground troops and attack aircraft were searching for them.

The death brings to 172 the number of U.S. troops killed in and around Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom (search) began in 2001, according to the U.S. Department of Defense Web site.