Despite laws barring women on the front lines, the
top U.S. military officer said Thursday that many women have faced the same dangers as men on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I know what the law says, and I know what it requires. But I'd be hard pressed to say that any woman who serves in Afghanistan today, or who served in
Iraq over the last few years, did so without facing the risks of their male counterparts," said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in
a speech to the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Three NATO-led service members were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, two in the south and another in the east, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.
Two civilians were hurt when indirect fire hit Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on Thursday, the International Security Assistance Force said.
Three rounds of fire struck the base, the force said. The civilians who were hurt were treated and released.
Officials said they do not know what type of rounds were used, although insurgents in the past have fired rockets.
Bagram is a heavily fortified base, its perimeter guarded by high fences and thick, concrete walls.
The last time the airfield came under indirect fire was on October 22. Prior to that, it was struck on September 11. In both instances, officials believe rockets were used.
NATO forces killed a senior militant leader of a Taliban-linked group during a weekend operation in eastern Afghanistan, a military statement said Thursday.
"Haqqani network senior leader, Hibati, was killed during an overnight operation in Paktiya province Saturday," NATO said.
The death brings the total number of Haqqani network leaders killed to five. The network is part of the Afghan Taliban.
The operation in a remote compound in Dzadran district was based on intelligence tips.
"Intelligence reports later confirmed the death of the five Haqqani leaders as well as several additional Haqqani fighters," the statement said. "It is assessed the security force had broken up a Haqqani leadership meeting."
The operation is part of a series of attacks on militants in the nation by U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus.
During a two-week period in early October, coalition forces battled groups of fighters from the Haqqani network crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan.The groups were attempting to attack coalition and Afghan bases in the border region.
More than 120 Haqqani fighters were killed.