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More U.S. GIs Wounded In Afghanistan

Two U.S. special forces soldiers were shot and wounded on an intelligence-gathering mission in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said on Monday.

"They were on an intelligence-gathering mission in southern Afghanistan," reports CBS News Correspondent Tom Fenton in Kabul. "They must have been ambushed. One of the soldiers was shot in the thigh, and the other was shot in the calf."

Meanwhile, Newsweek reports a confidential U.N. memorandum says there is evidence to justify a "full-fledged criminal investigation" into the deaths in Afghanistan of hundreds of Taliban prisoners held by the U.S.-backed northern alliance.

Colonel Roger King, a spokesman at Bagram Air Base just north of Kabul, said the names of the U.S. soldiers wounded were being withheld pending notification of relatives.

"They were flown here to Bagram, medically stabilized, and further evacuated to Germany for medical treatment," he said.

He said four people were detained during the operation, but he gave no details.

The incident occurred in Uruzgan province

"They were going to a specific location in order to confirm or deny the intelligence they had on that location," he said.

A U.S. air raid in Uruzgan on July 1 killed at least 46 civilians and wounded 117, according to Afghan authorities, who said many of them celebrating at a wedding party.

Results of investigations by the United States and a separate U.N. fact-finding group have not yet been released.

It was not known whether the special operations troops were wounded near the scene of the air raid or whether the two incidents were linked.

U.S. forces are in Afghanistan pursuing remnants of the former Taliban regime and Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, blamed for the September 11 attacks on the United States.

About 40 American soldiers have been killed in combat and non-combat incidents and more than 340 have been wounded since U.S. operations in Afghanistan began last October.

U.N. investigators reportedly based their finding on an investigation of a mass grave that "contains bodies of Taliban POWs who died of suffocation" while being transferred from Kunduz to a prison at Shibergan after Taliban resistance in northern Afghanistan collapsed in November.

The magazine said the memo referred to "political sensitivity" and recommended a halt to "all activities relevant to this case" until a decision was made on whether to push for a criminal trial, truth commission or other alternatives.

Northern Afghanistan had one of the worst records of mass killings on all sides during years of fighting that began when the Soviet Union invaded in 1979. The United Nations investigated a report that as many as 2,000 Taliban were massacred in 1997 around Mazar-e-Sharif. A year later, the Taliban were accused of slaughtering thousands of ethnic Hazaras in revenge when the hardline Islamic militia recaptured the city.

Last November, thousands of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, including American John Walker Lindh, surrendered to northern alliance forces in the Kunduz area following intensive U.S. air attacks.

Many of the prisoners were transferred in metal containers to Shibergan, the stronghold of infamous Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who was allied with the United States in the war against the Taliban and is now President Hamid Karzai's special representative in the north.

In Boston, the group Physicians for Human Rights, which also sent a team to investigate the reported massacre, said it had repeatedly asked the governments of the United States and Afghanistan as well as the United Nations to secure the gravesite and launch a comprehensive criminal investigation.

"The refusal of the United States to acknowledge and investigate the possibility that its military partner murdered hundreds or thousands of prisoners is a terrible repudiation of its commitment to hold perpetrators of war crimes accountable for their deeds," Leonard S. Rubenstein, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, said in a statement released Sunday.

The organization said it alerted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice in a Feb. 26 letter to the "life-threatening conditions" at Shibergan.

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