A U.S. Special Forces soldier was killed by an Islamic State improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, according to defense officials.
“The service member was killed conducting operations with Afghan forces when the patrol triggered an Improvised Explosive Device,” said the Department of Defense in a statement.
The soldier, whose name and personal details have yet to be released by the Pentagon, was killed in a “combat situation” while on foot patrol early, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters Tuesday during a press briefing. There is no indication that ISIS specifically targeted the U.S. soldier, and it is also unclear whether the IED was remotely detonated or triggered, despite the Pentagon’s earlier statement, Cook added. A full military investigation is currently underway.
U.S. Special Forces are currently engaged in support operations with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) through NATO’s Resolute Support mission. While the Taliban remain the main threat in Afghanistan, ISIS is establishing an affiliate (known as Islamic State Khorasan Province) in Nangarhar, which is located along Afghanistan’s mountainous eastern border with Pakistan. The region is a well-known hotbed of Islamic extremism.
The death of the unknown soldier brings the total number of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion to 1,832.
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