ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- One of two American journalists from The Arizona Republic was killed in Afghanistan and the other wounded in a rocket attack by Soviet troops last week, an Afghan resistance source in Peshawar said today.
The two were identified as Charles E. Thornton, 50, the newspaper's medical writer, and photographer Peter B. Schlueter, 29. The resistance source could not say which man was killed and which was wounded in the assault near Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan.
One Afghan resistance fighter was killed and five others wounded in the same attack.
The slain American journalist was buried northeast of Kandahar few days ago. Richard Robertson, the Republic's city editor, said the newspaper last heard from Thornton and Schlueter in a letter dated Aug. 28. The letter was mailed from Pakistan just as the two were about to enter Afghanistan and said the situation in the country was 'unsettled at that time.'
Robertson said the paper has received 'conflicting reports' about what happened to Thornton and Schlueter. Afghan rebels said Thornton was killed and Schlueter was wounded as they accompanied an American medical team inside the country. The team apparently was ministering to rebels there.
A French reporter told the Republic a reporter had been killed and the rest of the group was captured by Afghan or Soviet troops.
The American medical team with whom the journalists were traveling was treating Afghan rebels inside Afghanistan, the rebel source said.
The rebels have been fighting Soviet and Afghan government troops since the Soviets invaded the country in December 1979.
The incident was revealed by a faction of Pakistan-based Hizb-e-Islami, or Islamic Front, which received a letter from its fighters near Kandahar.
The letter, received in Quetta, said that the journalists and two American doctors had been with the Islamic Front in southern Afghanistan.
Richard Robertson, city editor of The Arizona republic, said his paper has received 'conflicting reports' about what happened to Thornton and Schlueter.
The wounded journalist and the two doctors of the American medical team apparently were still in southern Afghanistan, according to sources.
Thornton, a native of Memphis, Tenn., worked for the Memphis Press-Scimitar as a reporter, columnist and editor before joining the Republic in January 1984.
Schlueter received a National Headliner Award this year for his photo 'A Last Act of Defiance,' which showed a naked copper-strike supporter confronting state police in Clifton, Ariz. He joined the Republic in 1982.