U.S. service member killed by IED in Afghanistan

Afghan soldiers and their U.S. counterparts march toward Gerekheyl village during an early morning patrol in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on June 14, 2011. A U.S. service member was killed Tuesday during an offensive against the Islamic State. File photo by Tia Sokimson/U.S. Army | License Photo

WASHINGTON (UPI) — A U.S. service member was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday during a joint U.S.-Afghan counter-terrorism operation targeting the Islamic State, defense officials said.

The unidentified American died from injuries after the blast of an improvised explosive device, or IED, according to a statement from Resolute Support, the coalition training mission in Afghanistan.

Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said the IED exploded in Nangarhar’s Achin district, a few miles from the Pakistan border, where a U.S.-Afghan counter-terrorism mission was targeting the Islamic State’s Afghanistan branch, called Khorasan.

“On behalf of all of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, we are heartbroken by this loss and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the service member,” Nicholson said in a statement. “Despite this tragic event, we remain committed to defeating the terrorists of the Islamic State, Khorasan Province and helping our Afghan partners defend their nation.”

This marks the third U.S. combat fatality in Afghanistan this year.

The United States has 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. Former Taliban militants last year became affiliated with the Islamic State with an estimated 3,000 fighters. Starting in January, U.S.-authorized airstrikes and counter-terrorism missions reduced their numbers to 1,000 fighters, Nicholson said in August.