U.S. soldier killed, 4 wounded in combat in Afghanistan

By Allen Cone  |  Updated Jan. 2, 2018 at 10:19 PM
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Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A U.S. service member has been killed and four others injured during combat in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said Tuesday.

The first American death this year occurred in Achin in eastern Nangarhar province Monday, but no details, including the military branch or the killed soldier's identity, were given in a release by NATO's Resolute Support in Afghanistan. The United States is a coalition member.

U.S.-backed Afghan forces have been fighting the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. troops are not involved direct combat in Afghanistan, but President Donald Trump last August announced plans to strengthen the military's Afghan involvement.

Vice President Mike Pence visited Afghanistan last month and said American forces would stand "shoulder to shoulder" with their Afghan counterparts against the Taliban and other terror groups.

Fifteen Americans were killed in Afghanistan in 2017, according to icasualties.org, which tracks casualties. In all, 2,408 American service members were killed from 2001 to 2017.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own," said Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a statement. "At this very difficult time our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen and wounded brothers."

Two wounded soldiers were in stable condition at a medical unit and the other two have returned to duty, officials said.

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