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Pentagon IDs soldier killed in eastern Afghanistan

Pentagon IDs soldier killed in eastern Afghanistan
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The Pentagon on Tuesday identified a soldier who was killed the previous day during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan.

Spc. Gabriel Conde, 22, of Loveland, Colo., was killed in action by enemy gunfire in Tagab district, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Conde was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

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The statement provided no additional details of the incident.

“The incident is under investigation,” the statement said.

The incident also left one U.S. service member injured. That person was in stable condition and taken to Bagram Airfield’s hospital for treatment, U.S. Forces Afghanistan said Monday.

It’s unclear which of Afghanistan’s various militant groups was involved in the firefight, but Kapisa province, where Tagab is located, has in the past been an area where military operations focus on the Taliban.

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

That includes about 3,000 troops that President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE sent there after announcing his Afghanistan strategy last summer. The reinforcements were meant to turn the tide of a deteriorating security situation.

Monday was a particularly bloody day in Afghanistan, with a double suicide bombing in Kabul that killed at least 25 people, including nine journalists who rushed to the scene after the first bombing. ISIS took responsibility for the attacks.

A 10th journalist was shot dead by a group of armed men in eastern Afghanistan’s Khost province, making Monday the deadliest day for journalists in Afghanistan since 2002.

Separately, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden van into a convoy of foreign forces near a mosque near Kandahar, killing 11 children. Eight Romanian soldiers who are part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission were injured.

Asked Tuesday about the attacks, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisMattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration Overnight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Americans are safer from terrorism, but new threats are arising MORE tempered his outlook on Afghanistan’s security.

“We anticipated, and are doing our best, and have been successful at blocking many of these attacks on innocent people,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “But unfortunately, once in a while, they get through, because any terrorist organization that realizes it can't win by ballots and turns to bombs — this is simply what they do. They murder innocent people.”