On New Year’s Day, a U.S. service member was killed and four others were wounded during an operation in a part of Afghanistan where U.S. forces have been fighting both the Taliban and ISIS. The fighting took place in Nangahar province’s Achin district, a mountainous region near the Pakistan border. In 2017, the U.S. stepped up its operations against ISIS in that area.
The fallen service member’s name has not yet been released, but it’s an ominous beginning to the year after fifteen U.S. service members died in Afghanistan in 2017. The Washington Post reveals that eleven of those fatalities occurred during combat with seven taking place in the Nangahar province. Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the senior U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, issued a statement expressing condolences for the lost service member.
According to Gen. Nicholson Jr., ISIS is rapidly losing territory in Afghanistan (after also seeing diminishing numbers in Iraq and Syria) and is being pushed further into mountainous regions. “Remember most of these Daesh fighters came from Pakistan,” Nicholson said in a previous briefing. “They go through the passes of southern Nangahar and they move back to their home agency.”
According to Nicholson, there are only about 1,000 ISIS fighters left in Afghanistan, with between 600 and 800 of them in Nangahar province. Before the New Year’s Day combat death, the most recent U.S. service member fatality in Afghanistan occurred in August 2017.
(Via Washington Post)