WASHINGTON Two U.S. service members were killed during an operation against Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan overnight on Wednesday, U.S. officials said on Thursday.The incident took place in the southern Nangarhar province, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. U.S. forces in Afghanistan added in a statement that a third U.S. service member was wounded in the raid, carried out with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) against the militants.
The incident comes just days after U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited Afghanistan as President Donald Trump's administration looks to craft a policy in the war-torn country.U.S. troops are battling suspected Islamic State militants in Nangarhar province, near the border with Pakistan, where earlier this month, the United States dropped a massive bomb known as "the mother of all bombs."
Another U.S. soldier was killed earlier in April while carrying out operations against Islamic State in Afghanistan.
The Islamic State's offshoot in Afghanistan, known as the Sunni jihadist group's so-called Khorasan Province, is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi'ite Muslim targets. U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500. (Reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington and Josh Smith in Kabul; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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Updated Date: Apr 27, 2017 21:53:19 IST