One U.S. soldier was killed and two were wounded Tuesday in a firefight with Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
A U.S. military medevac helicopter made a “hard landing” while trying to evacuate the Special Forces troops from an attack near Marja, in the southern province of Helmand. The helicopter itself came under mortar and small-arms fire, but was reportedy still able to fly. An unknown number of Afghan troops were injured during the incident.
U.S. Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner confirmed the fatality in a brief statement: “We are deeply saddened by this loss. On behalf of General Campbell and all of USFOR-A, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved.”
A senior administration official told The Daily Beast the personnel involved in the operation were working with Afghan special-operations forces against resurgent Taliban in the region.
That fight is leading Pentagon officials to reexamine how many special-operations forces they have in Afghanistan and worldwide. There are roughly 3,000 U.S. special-operators supporting the fight in Afghanistan out of 70,000 total force. Between that fight, the one against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and the growing battle against ISIS throughout the Middle East, there simply aren’t enough operators to go around, the official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matters publicly.
—Nancy A. Youssef and Kimberly Dozier