- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2018

American commanders in Afghanistan Thursday confirmed the death of a U.S. service member, killed during combat operations in the eastern part of the country. The American casualty marks the second U.S. fatality in the country this week.

Command officials with Operation Resolute Support said the U.S. service member and a member of the Afghan National Security Forces were killed during the July 12 operation, declining to identify the American or Afghan soldiers who died. Several Afghan troops were also injured during the operation, command officials said in a statement.

While officials in Kabul did not provide details on the operation in which both men were killed, American, NATO and Afghan forces have been engaged over the last several weeks in a massive operation in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province — dubbed Operation Hamza.

Since April, American special operations forces and Afghan counterparts have been hammering terrorist redoubts in Nangarhar, the home of the Islamic State’s cell in the country, known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — Khorasan Group or ISIS-K. Afghan and U.S. forces intensified their campaign in the ISIS-K stronghold in late June, as Kabul continued to honor its unilateral cease-fire with the Taliban — which officially ended on June 20.

News of the American casualty comes days after U.S. commanders identified Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel as the U.S. soldier killed during an insider attack against American forces in Southern Afghanistan on Saturday. Cpl. Maciel was killed and two other U.S. soldiers were wounded during the incident in Tarin Kowt District in the country’s Uruzgan Province.

All three men were attached to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, which was supporting the Army’s inaugural 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, deployed to southern Afghanistan.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning declined to comment on whether the soldiers were out on a mission with their Afghan counterparts during the attack, or whether the attack took place inside the U.S. compound in Tarin Kowt.

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