1 U.S. Service Member Killed, 2 Others Wounded in Afghanistan After Firefight in Helmand Province


One U.S. service member has died and two others were wounded in Afghanistan today following a firefight near Marja in Helmand Province.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss,” said Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, the spokesman for Resolute Support, the U.S. military training mission in Afghanistan. “On behalf of General Campbell and all of USFOR-A, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved.”

U.S. officials said special operations forces were accompanying Afghan forces in Marja when they engaged in a firefight with Taliban fighters.

“A U.S. servicemember was killed, and two U.S. servicemembers were injured, when they came under fire while conducting a Train, Advise & Assist mission with their Afghan Special Operations counterparts on the ground in Marjah, Helmand Province,” said Peter Cook, the Pentagon Press Secretary, at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. “We understand a number of Afghan forces were injured as well.”

Cook said that two HH-60 U.S. Air Force “Pave Hawk” medevac helicopters were sent to take away the American casualties, but one took fire.

“The second landed safely, but sustained damage to its rotor blades after it apparently struck a wall,” he said. “That helicopter remains on the ground.”

A U.S. official told ABC News that the damage to the helicopter occurred as it was taking off.

“This is an active, ongoing situation” said Cook, who added that additional steps have been taken to support American troops in Marja.

Parts of southern Afghanistan have once again become the scene of heavy fighting as the Taliban tries to regain control of Helmand Province. Afghan and U.S. officials are concerned that the province could fall back into Taliban control.

The U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ended in December of 2014 but 9,800 American troops are stationed in the country to train Afghan military soldiers. The majority of these American troops do not leave the bases.

U.S. special operations forces advising Afghan special operations forces can accompany them into combat situations.

Cook expressed confidence that Afghan security forces will overcome the security challenges throughout Afghanistan. “We’re confident, because of the support that not only the United States is providing, but other countries as well, that the Afghan forces are moving in the right direction,” said Cook. “We’ve seen solid progress from the Afghan forces.”

SOURCE: Yahoo News; ABC News, Emily Shapiro and Luis Martinez