A U.S. service member has died from wounds sustained today in an operation near Lashkar Gah in Helmand province in Afghanistan, the Pentagon confirmed.
The service member was conducting “train, advise, assist” activities with Afghan counterparts when the patrol “triggered an improvised explosive device,” or IED, according to a news release from U.S. Forces Afghanistan.
The Pentagon will not release the service member’s name until after next of kin are notified.
Another U.S. service member and six Afghan soldiers sustained wounds during the operation.
“On behalf of all of U.S. Forces Afghanistan as well as Resolute Support, our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved,” Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and Resolute Support, said in the news release. “We are deeply saddened by this loss but remain committed to helping our Afghan partners provide a brighter future for themselves and their children.”
US Sends 100 Troops to Secure Besieged Afghan City
This is the second U.S. combat death in Afghanistan this year. In January, Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock, 30, died after an hours-long firefight near Marjah in Helmand province. He was assisting Afghan special operations troops as they defended against an intense Taliban assault.
The Pentagon confirmed Monday that 100 U.S. troops were sent to Lashkar Gah to train, advise and assist local Afghan police as they face a major summer offensive by the Taliban. That group includes trainers as well as a force to provide protection for them.
In Monday’s briefing, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters that the force would not be a permanent presence and that the troops would “return to their base at some point.”
There are several hundred other U.S. personnel at the former Camp Bastion in Helmand province that has been training the Afghan army.
When pressed on the progress made in Helmand, Cook said that the Afghan forces have shown “resiliency” in recent months and that the decision to send additional U.S. forces to Lashkar Gah reflected U.S. support.
But he warned, “There still are challenges in Afghanistan.”
“There are going to be setbacks along the way,” Cook said. “Certainly, there’s room for improvement.