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US soldier killed, another wounded in Helmand

By Mansoor Faizy-KABUL: The US army says that an American service member died as a result of wounds sustained and another received injuries during operations near Lashkarga, the provincial capital of southern Helmand province on Tuesday. Six Afghan soldiers were also wounded, US official said in a statement.

“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,” said General John W. Nicholson, commander of USFOR-A and Resolute Support, “We are deeply saddened by this loss, but remain committed to helping our Afghan partners provide a brighter future for themselves and their children.”

The service member was killed conducting Train, Advise, Assist activities with Afghan counterparts under NATO authorities when their patrol triggered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), the statement added.

It added that an investigation is being conducted to determine the exact circumstances of the event. US Department of Defense Policy is to withhold the identity of the service member pending next-of-kin notification. We will release additional information as appropriate.

The killing of US troops comes after 100 US troops have been deployed in Helmand to help Afghan security forces in fight against Taliban insurgents.

A US military official in Afghanistan said that the decision for the deployment of around 100 troops to Helmand was taken following tactical victories by the Taliban group.

It is worth mention that recently, the Taliban militants have launched a series of attacks to capture strategic districts and provinces. Intense fighting is under between the insurgents and Afghan security forces in Helmand and Kunduz provinces. The Taliban seemed to be in dominant position in these provinces as the militant group still controls over 80 percent of the two provinces.

On Monday during a press briefing, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications of the Resolute Support Mission, Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, claimed that neither Lashkargah nor Kunduz City will fall to the insurgent group as the militant group has failed to achieve strategic goals till date.

He added that the Afghan security forces are making steady progress in the two provinces, acknowledging that the insurgent group had tactical gains that would likely to continue.

The remark of the high-ranking US military official comes after the Afghan National Army Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Murad Ali Murad visited Kunduz province after Khanabad district was fallen to the Taliban.

“My visit is to suppress the militants in this province,” he said, adding that eliminating insurgent group in the province was his top priority. However, he said that center of Qala-e-Zal district fell to the militant on Saturday night, but will retake the district soon.”

Though, the Afghan security forces recaptured the control of a strategic Khanabad district from Taliban, but, despite displacement, it left huge property losses to the residents.

A large number of people in Kunduz province were displaced as a result fierce fighting. The residents forced to leave their house and properties in order to safe their skin. An official in the provincial Internal Displaced People (IDP) office Abdul Saboor told Afghanistan Times that several people were displaced from Khanabad district, but he did not provide exact details.

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