US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan, Bringing 2017 Combat Deaths to Seven

06 July, 2017, 00:50 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Pfc. Hansen B. Kirkpatrick

A U.S soldier was killed late Monday afternoon in the result of wounds sustained during an indirect fire attack in Helmand province, the U.S forces headquarters in Kabul said in a statement on Wednesday. His name is Hansen Kirkpatrick. The Pentagon did not release any further details and said the incident is under investigation.

USA soldiers returned fire killing two militants.

Now about 8,400 USA troops are in Afghanistan along with about 5,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces.

Kirkpatrick, of Wasilla, Ala., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. Bill Salvin, a spokesman for the military, said that the death was the result of indirect fire, and that Private Kirkpatrick was part of a counterterrorism unit that was carrying out a mission in Nawa.

The death rate is strikingly high compared to 2016, when a total of nine US troops were killed while supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

Once the country's deadliest province for USA forces, Helmand is now the scene of heavy fighting between Afghan national security forces and a resurgent Taliban, which has captured huge swaths of the region since the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat mission in the country officially ended in late 2014.

"We will keep [Kirkpatrick's] family in our thoughts and prayers as we reflect on the sacrifice he and others have made to secure our freedoms and help make Afghanistan a better place", Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, said in a prepared statement. The Taliban has turned the province into the frontline of its campaign against the USA and Afghan government, controlling vast swaths of its territory.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has promised to deliver Congress a new strategy for the 16-year-old war by mid-July.

The United States is considering sending thousands of additional US troops to Afghanistan, after Gen. Nicholson requested the force increase to break what he called a "stalemate" in the war. The rapid deterioration of security in Helmand prompted US commanders in February 2015 to rush a small, "expeditionary advising package" including USA troops to stop the downward spiral, and it has since expanded to include hundreds of conventional US soldiers and Marines. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 - who were members of the 101st Airborne Division.

Two Army Rangers and a Green Beret were also killed in Nangarhar in April during operations against Islamic State militants.


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