updated 10/21/2004 7:34:59 AM ET 2004-10-21T11:34:59

An American airman has died of his injuries after a helicopter carrying a wounded Afghan election worker crashed in western Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Technical problems -- not hostile fire -- brought the HH-60 helicopter down in Herat province late Wednesday, spokeswoman Lt. Col. Pam Keeton said. Two other airmen were injured, one of them critically, she said.

The election worker had been accidentally shot by a guard earlier in the day and the helicopter had been transporting him out for medical treatment. He suffered no further injuries in the crash.

Meanwhile, a bomb attack injured three U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter in southeastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Thursday.

One of the soldiers was in critical condition after the attack Wednesday in the Nika district of Paktika province, about 110 miles southeast of Kabul, a military statement said.

Two Humvee vehicles were destroyed in the blast, caused by a homemade bomb, it said.

All the wounded were taken to Camp Salerno, a U.S. military base in neighboring Khost province, for treatment.

The U.S. military, which has 18,000 soldiers hunting al-Qaida and Taliban rebels in eastern and southern Afghanistan, claims to have militants on the defensive after they failed to disrupt the country's Oct. 9 presidential election.

Still, about 1,000 people have died in political violence so far this year, including more than 30 U.S. soldiers.

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