Published: Oct 25, 2011 8:54 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Army 1st Lt. Ashley White died on the front lines in southern Afghanistan last weekend. She was the first casualty in what the Army says is a new and vital wartime attempt to gain the trust of Afghan women.
    
White, like other female soldiers working with special operations teams, was brought in because she could do things that would be awkward or impossible for her male teammates, such as frisking burqa-clad women.
    
Her death in a bomb explosion in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar underscores the risks of placing women with elite U.S. special operations teams working in remote villages.
    
Military leaders and other women soldiers in the program say its rewards are great, even as it fuels debate over the roles of women in combat situations.

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