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US Service Member Killed in Combat in Southern Afghanistan


FILE - A solider stands guard near a military aircraft in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The U.S. service member killed Thursday in southern Afghanistan was conducting combat operations against Taliban forces, a defense official told VOA.

International forces in the country had announced earlier in the day, without providing details, that one American service member had been killed in action. A press release said the death was "under investigation."

Speaking to Pentagon reporters Thursday from U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees military operations across the Middle East, would say only that the casualty was a result of "combat action" and would not specify the location or the enemy combatant.

He said more details would be given after the service member's family had been notified.

The news came as the Afghan Taliban claimed on their website that Taliban fighters had detonated an improvised explosive device on a tank in Garmsir district of Helmand province.

The Taliban added that all service members in the tank had been killed or wounded. The information came from the SITE Intelligence Group that monitors jihadist websites and translates their content into English.

The Pentagon said about 14,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Afghanistan. Thursday's death was the seventh U.S. combat fatality in the country this year.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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