Soldier slain, two wounded in fighting in Afghanistan
One United States (US) troop was killed and two wounded in fighting yesterday in southern Afghanistan, the US military command in Kabul said.
The fighting, which reflects intensified efforts by the US and its Afghan partners to push back against recent Taliban gains, was near the city of Marja, Helmand province, which shares a border with Pakistan. The Taliban in recent weeks have focused their efforts on retaking parts of Helmand, and the US has countered with US special operations forces working with Afghan troops.
In a brief written statement announcing the three US casualties, the US military command in Kabul said one died of wounds sustained "during operations" in Marja, and that two were wounded. The statement did not identify their service branch. Two US officials said they were special operation troops. "We are deeply saddened by this loss," said Brig Gen Wilson A. Shoffner, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan. Speaking for Gen John Campbell, the top US commander in Afghanistan, Shoffner said, "our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved".
A US helicopter was sent to evacuate the casualties but did not immediately take off because of an unspecified problem.
In Kabul, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, Navy Lt Cmdr Ron Flesvig, said the helicopter sent to evacuate the casualties had landed with a mechanical problem.