IED blast wounds 2 US servicemembers in eastern Afghanistan
By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 8, 2016
KABUL, Afghanistan — Two U.S. servicemembers were wounded Saturday in Nangarhar province when the vehicle they were traveling in hit a roadside bomb, officials said.
The NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in an emailed statement that the two were wounded near Chapahar district during a routine security patrol in the vicinity of Jalalabad Airfield, where U.S. troops are stationed.
It comes days after the first U.S. combat death in the fight against the Islamic State, a “franchise” of the parent group operating in Iraq and Syria, that’s made up of mainly Pakistanis who switched allegiance from the Taliban. Green Beret Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, 31, died Tuesday from wounds from an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol in Nangarhar’s Achin district.
Locals in Jalalabad this week said much of the province remains extremely volatile. On Sunday, the provincial governor resigned his post, citing a lack of cooperation and support from the central government in Kabul and residents’ unhappiness with insecurity as reasons, local media reported.
In recent months U.S. troops have been helping Afghan forces battle the Islamic State there, where it has established a foothold in about four districts. U.S. officials estimate the group has about 1,200 members, mostly in Nangarhar, with enclaves in neighboring Kunar province. That’s down roughly 25 percent from earlier this year, after U.S. and Afghan operations killed about 300 fighters, including several high-level commanders and the group’s top leader.
Three U.S. troops were wounded in Nangarhar province in early August, when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives targeting a military convoy on a force-protection patrol near the provincial capital of Jalalabad. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.
Five American servicemembers were also wounded in the southern part of the province in July, during combat operations against the Islamic State.
U.S. troops patrol while others speak with locals near Lalmah village, Chapahar district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on Sept. 1, 2013. Two U.S. servicemembers were wounded Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, near Chapahar district during a routine security patrol in the vicinity of Jalalabad Airfield.
CHAD CARLSON/U.S. ARMY