The Pentagon has identified a fourth U.S. soldier killed during a devastating roadside bombing in eastern Afghanistan over the weekend, representing the single deadliest attack on U.S. forces in the war this year.
Sgt. Jason McClary, 24, was critically wounded when his vehicle was targeted by an improvised roadside bomb blast in eastern Ghazni province over the weekend. He died of his injuries Monday at the U.S. military facility in Landsthul, Germany, according to a Pentagon statement.
Army Capt. Andrew Ross and Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond, members of 3rd Special Forces Group, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin with 26th Special Tactics Squadron were all killed immediately in the same bomb blast.
U.S. Army officials are investigating the incident, but the Taliban has already claimed credit for the lethal attack. Their deaths brought the total number of American dead in Afghanistan this year to 10.
News of Sgt. McClary’s death comes a day after Afghan and Taliban officials confirmed the death of Mullah Abdul Manan and four other Taliban commanders, who died when their convoy was hit by a U.S. drone strike while traveling through the Nawzad district of Helmand Province.
As the “shadow governor” for Nawzad district, which straddles the Afghan-Pakistan border, Mullah Manan was the Taliban’s point person responsible for the group’s narcotrafficking operations across the border, Afghan officials say.
In a statement Sunday, Taliban officials said Mullah Manan’s death was a “major loss” to the organization, saying the slain Taliban leader was integral in driving most of Helmand province away from the central government in Kabul, according to a statement given to the Voice of America.