Two US troops were wounded in the southeast as they searched for warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The troops were hurt when a remote control mine went off near their truck. Another bomb was found nearby. Hekmatyar is a pro-Taliban Pushtun who was one of the more successful rebel leaders fighting the Russians during the 1980s. Hekmatyar is an Islamic fundamentalist, and his attempt to turn Afghanistan into an Islamic Republic after the Russians left in 1989 led to a civil war that, in turn, led to the Taliban takeover. Unable to cut a deal with the Taliban, Hekmatyar fled to Iran. But he was tossed out of there earlier this year because he was too extreme even for the Islamic fundamentalists who control Iran. Returning to Afghanistan, he has been sneaking around trying to rally like minded Pushtuns (mainly Taliban adherents) to his cause. Hekmatyar is suspected as being behind many recent terrorist attacks against foreign troops and Afghans loyal to the central government.
There are about a thousand US troops in southeast Paktia province, looking for Taliban, al Qaeda and Hekmatyar.