BAGRAM, Afghanistan – As many as 100 U.S. Special Forces troops raided a compound in eastern Afghanistan in an unsuccessful search for attackers who killed an American soldier in an ambush, a U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday.
No shots were fired in the raid near the village of Shkin, but ``intelligence items'' were seized, Maj. Bryan Hilferty said at the main allied air base at Bagram.
Sgt. Gene Arden Vance Jr., 38, of Morgantown, W.Va., was killed Sunday when a coalition patrol was ambushed in Shkin by 50 unidentified attackers, Hilferty said. His body was flown Monday to a U.S. military base in Germany.
An Afghan soldier fighting alongside Vance was shot in the leg during a firefight sparked by the ambush and is ``doing fine.'' One of the attackers was killed, but the rest fled the scene.
``We just had intelligence on where we think that the people who ambushed our soldiers the other night were so we conducted a raid in that location,'' Hilferty said. ``We tracked them to this particular place, but they weren't there when we got there.''
Coalition forces have been scouring eastern Afghanistan in search of Al Qaeda or Taliban holdouts but have repeatedly returned empty-handed.
Another large-scale sweep involving 1,000 mostly British troops was launched Friday, a day after Australian special forces said they came under fire by suspected Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters about 12 miles north of the volatile eastern city of Khost.
Coalition forces say an AC-130 gunship killed 10 of the attackers and another was shot by an Australian soldier.
Lt. Col. Ben Curry, British military spokesman at Bagram, said two 120-man companies were still sweeping the hills. He said the operation had netted two 82 mm mortar tubes and two boxes of ammunition, along with several artillery rounds and anti-personnel mines.
Hilferty said Vance's death would not deter future operations.
``Sgt. Vance's death as well as his dedicated service strengthens our resolve in pursuit of the terrorists, the terrorist networks and those who harbor them,'' Hilferty said.
Elsewhere, a U.S. defense official said Monday that American intelligence has received new reports that Osama bin Laden received a kidney transplant in late February, but it's unclear whether the reports are true. Officials have received persistent reports that the Al Qaeda leader has severe kidney problems, but none has been verified to the satisfaction of U.S. intelligence officials.