updated 6/4/2005 1:37:17 AM ET 2005-06-04T05:37:17

A bomb exploded next to a U.S. military convoy in eastern Afghanistan, killing two American soldiers and wounding a third, the military said Saturday.

An Afghan interpreter was also wounded in the attack on Friday in Urgun district in Paktika province, the military said. The wounded were evacuated by helicopter to a U.S. base for treatment.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of these two brave individuals who gave their lives so that Afghanistan might have a safe and secure future,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. James G. Champion, deputy operational commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76.

The names of the dead were withheld pending notification of their family.

The deaths brought to 147 the number of U.S. troops killed in and around Afghanistan since their mission began in 2001.

After a winter lull, loyalists to the ousted Taliban regime and other militants opposed to the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai have ramped up their insurgency with bombings and other attacks.

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