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3 US soldiers wounded in IED blast; Islamic State claims credit

A mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia on Nov. 9, 2016.

ANDREW PARK/U.S. AIR FORCE

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 14, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — Three U.S. soldiers were wounded when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, U.S. officials said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blast in Nangarhar province, where loyalists to the group have been operating since 2015.

The soldiers were returning to Forward Operating Base Fenty at Jalalabad Airport after an unspecified mission when their mine-resistant vehicle ran over the IED, officials said.

The three injured soldiers returned to duty on Tuesday. A fourth soldier riding with them was not hurt, they added.

American troops have been helping Afghan forces battle the regional branch of Islamic State, known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province, since early last year when the U.S. designated the group a foreign terrorist organization.

Since then, 12 of group’s leaders have been killed and the overall number of fighters has been reduced from between 2,000-3,000 to approximately 700, according to U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

Despite the decrease, the group continues to claim responsibility for high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including the storming of the country’s largest military hospital last week that killed dozens.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com
Twitter: @PhillipWellman

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