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U.S./Afghan basketball game turns unfriendly

Published Sep. 2, 2005

A basketball game between U.S. and Afghan teams turned violent in Kabul, with one American player kicked in the head and two Afghan spectators shot in the leg, peacekeepers and witnesses said Friday.

The events on Thursday began when an American player fell near the seating area of the Kabul stadium. An Afghan spectator kicked the player in the head, Flight Lt. Tony Marshall said.

An Afghan guard with the U.S. team tried to push the crowd back. He cocked his machine gun and it went off unintentionally, Marshall said.

Two Afghan spectators were hit by bullets, both in the leg, said a witness, Wahid Ullah. Both were in good condition at Kabul's Italian-run emergency hospital. The guard was taken into police custody, Marshall said.

He said the game had been played in an atmosphere of goodwill before the American was kicked.

The match occurred on the second day of a four-day tournament in the Afghan capital. The American team, which included soldiers, U.S. Embassy personnel and one British player, pulled out of the tournament.

HORSES: Jarf won Aqueduct's $54,000 allowance, returning $7.10, $4.30 and $3.30. Bold World won the $78,750 Charon Stakes for 3-year-old Florida-bred fillies at Hallandale Beach's Gulfstream Park, paying $2.40 and $2.10. Climate won the $70,000 feature race at Santa Anita, paying $19.40, $5.60 and $3.

OBITUARIES: John Gray, who helped transform a junior college into what is now Lamar University, died Thursday in Beaumont, Texas. He was 95. Gray was athletic director, football coach, dean of men and teacher in 1932 when South Park Junior College became Lamar College. Australian-born English Test cricketer Benjamin Hollioake died in a car accident in Perth, Australia. Hollioake, 24, died when the sports car he was driving spun out of control and hit a brick wall.

_ BRANT JAMES, TIMES WIRES