Soldier killed in Afghanistan identified by the Pentagon

A special operations soldier killed Saturday in Afghanistan during an operation against ISIS-Khorasan has been identified by the Pentagon.

According to a statement released by the Pentagon, Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Md., sustained fatal injuries “when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.”

The statement noted that De Alencar was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He was participating in a mission in Nangarhar province against ISIS-Khorasan, the Afghan branch of the terrorist group, when he was killed.

De Alencar was the first U.S. troop fatality in Afghanistan in 2017. The U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan was officially ended by former President Obama in December 2014, but thousands of troops are still in the country. Those remaining are focused on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in combating the Taliban and operating counterterrorism missions against al Qaeda, ISIS, and similar groups.

Afghanistan has been referred to recently as a “stalemate” by ranking U.S. generals who contend that they need “a few thousand” more troops to supplement the 8,400 already on the ground to break.

A March statement by a U.S. military spokesman noted that troops are making progress against ISIS-Khorasan. An estimated 700 ISIS fighters remain in Afghanistan, a reduction from approximately 1,000 in October. According to the spokesman, the Afghanistan branch of ISIS occupied eleven districts in Nangarhar last year. That number is now down to two.

In a written statement issued Sunday by the U.S. forces command, headquartered in the capital Kabul, Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and Resolute Support, said , “On behalf of all U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of our fallen comrade. We will always remember our fallen comrades and commit ourselves to deliver on their sacrifice.”

H/T: The Hill

 

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