KABUL, Afghanistan — The Defense Department has identified a U.S. soldier killed in combat in eastern Afghanistan.

Sgt. 1st Class Samuel C. Hairston, 35, of Houston, Texas, died Aug. 12 in Ghazni province after his unit came under small-arms fire, according to a news release. Hairston was a member of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division.

The death brings the number of American servicemembers killed in Afghanistan this year to 38, according to The Associated Press. An additional 13 members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force from other countries have also been killed this year.

Eastern and southern Afghanistan are traditional hot spots during the summer fighting season. While casualty rates for ISAF servicemembers have fallen in recent years as Afghans assume more of the fighting against insurgents, ISAF servicemembers still patrol their bases, attend meetings with locals and work closely with Afghan forces to target insurgents.

Roughly 44,000 international troops remain in Afghanistan. ISAF will withdraw all foreign combat troops by the end of the year, but NATO plans call for a residual training and advising force to remain after 2014, pending agreements with the Afghan government.

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