Illinois Soldiers Killed Fighting Poppy Trade

Pair was trying to defuse a roadside bomb in Afghanistan

Two Illinois soldiers were killed Sunday as they tried to help police defuse a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Initial reports said the explosion occurred in southern Helmand province, which is the center of the fight against militants and drug traffickers.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Afghan police detected a bomb in the Loi Bagh, or "Big Garden," area of Nad Ali district, the center of a new push by the Afghan government and NATO against the illicit poppy trade and Taliban-led militants.

The blast killed two U.S. soldiers, an Afghan policeman and one Afghan civilian, according to the spokesman's office for U.S. forces there. The civilian was an interpreter, Afghan authorities said.

The bomb also wounded two police officers, including the new Nad Ali police commander, said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Helmand governor.

The National Guardsmen's names were not released pending family notification.

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