US soldier dies in anti-IS combat operation in Afghanistan

Kabul, Apr 9 (EFE).- A United States soldier has died from injuries sustained during a joint combat operation against terrorist group Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, official sources said Sunday.

“The soldier was a member of a US Special Forces team operating with Afghan Forces conducting counter-ISIS-Khorasan (the IS branch active in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan) operations in Nangarhar Province,” the US forces communications office said in a statement.

The deceased soldier was wounded while taking part in a combat operation in Achin district, believed to be the IS stronghold in the country.

In line with Washington’s policy, the office withheld the identity of the victim “pending next-of-kin notification”.

Meanwhile, provincial Afghan authorities confirmed in a statement they are preparing to launch an anti-terrorist operation across different parts of Achin, using ground attacks as well as airstrikes, the latter usually carried out by US troops.

The incident comes three days after the NATO mission in Afghanistan, Resolute Support, said the number of IS members in the country has halved in the last two years, and that the group has lost over 60 percent of territory originally under its control, thanks to military operations.

The IS has been operating in Afghanistan since at least 2015, and although authorities claimed its defeat in early 2016, clashes between Afghan troops and the militant group, as well as attacks by the latter, have continued in several parts of the country.

The most recent major IS attack in Afghanistan took place in March at a military hospital in Kabul, which killed 35, including the four attackers, and wounded 53 others.

Around 8,400 US troops are posted in Afghanistan, including 2,000 that form part of its anti-terrorist mission in the country.

The rest are part of the NATO mission for providing assistance and training to Afghan security forces.

© 2017 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.


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