US Soldier Killed, 2 Wounded in Southern Afghanistan

The indirect fire attack occurred in Helmand province. Its capital is Lashkar Gah shown here in February

The indirect fire attack occurred in Helmand province. Its capital is Lashkar Gah shown here in February

Private First Class Hansen Kirkpatrick of Wasilla, Alaska, died on Monday when he was struck by "indirect fire", a military term that usually encompasses rockets, mortars, or artillery, the USA military command in Kabul said in a statement.

The wounds of the two other soldiers were not considered life-threatening, the military said.

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.

It was "presumably" a Taliban attack, he said. James C. Bithorn, the executive officer for 1st Armored Division's 1st Brigade. The Pentagon said the incident is under investigation.

There has been fierce fighting in Helmand where Afghan security forces have been locked in constant clashes with Taliban insurgents, who have managed to re-establish a significant presence in the area. Helmand Province has seen some of the fiercest fightings in the past year, as the Taliban has attempted to push the Afghan government out of the province, which boasts vast poppy fields, the insurgent group's primary source of income.

At the end of the Obama administration, almost 1,500 USA troops were pulled from Afghanistan. Three US soldiers were killed and another wounded in June during a joint US-Afghan military operation in Nangarhar Province.

"At a time when we remember the patriots who founded our nation in freedom, we are saddened by the loss of one of our comrades who were here protecting our freedom at home", said Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that assault, as The Two-Way reported. The training includes increasing the number of Afghan commandos and building up the Afghan Air Force.

The United States has about 8,400 troops deployed to Afghanistan. President Trump is expected to announce in coming weeks the addition of a few thousand more troops to the mission as part of a new strategy.

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