OPIOID SERIES:

US service member killed, 4 injured in Afghan 'combat engagement'

US service member killed, 4 injured in Afghan 'combat engagement'
© Getty Images

One U.S. service member was killed and four others were injured in a “combat engagement” in eastern Afghanistan on New Year’s Day, U.S. Forces Afghanistan said Tuesday.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own,” Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement. "At this very difficult time our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen and wounded brothers."

The incident happened Monday in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, according to Tuesday’s release.

Two of those injured are being treated at a nearby medical facility and are in stable condition, according to the release. The other two service members who were injured are back on duty.

The statement provides no more details, saying that “additional information will be released as it is available.”

U.S. military operations in Nangarhar over the last few years have focused on routing the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from the remaining districts it holds there. Most of 2017’s U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan happened in Nangarhar.

The United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan troops in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism operations against groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda.

That number includes the approximately 3,000 troops sent to the country after President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems add five candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ program White House notifies Russia that no new sanctions are coming: report Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug MORE announced his new Afghanistan strategy last summer.