US soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan

US soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan
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A U.S. soldier died Sunday days after an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The Pentagon identified the soldier as Staff Sgt. Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion, 36, of Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Transfiguracion died of “wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near him while he was conducting combat patrol operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The explosion happened Aug. 7, according to the Army.

Transfiguracion was born in the Philippines and enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard in 2001. He was posthumously promoted to sergeant first class, the Army said.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, according to the Pentagon statement.

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The statement provided no additional details of the incident, saying that it is under investigation.

Transfiguracion is the fifth U.S. service member killed this year in Afghanistan. His death comes as President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE’s strategy to turn the 17-year-old war around comes up on its one-year anniversary.

Last August, Trump announced he was taking away a timeline for withdrawal and sending thousands more troops to the country in an effort to end a stalemate in the war.

The United States now has about 16,000 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Pentagon officials have claimed Trump’s strategy is working in its effort to force the Taliban to the negotiating table.

“No doubt, the strategy has confronted the Taliban with a reason to go to ceasefires that [Afghan] President [Ashraf] Ghani has led and offered and to go into discussions,” Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThreatening foreign states with sanctions can backfire Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court MORE told reporters last week. “But it is still early in that reconciliation process.”

U.S. and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban in the key provincial capital of Ghazni following a multipronged Taliban assault on the city that started Friday.

The U.S. military has downplayed the Taliban siege, with a spokesman saying Ghazni city remains under Afghan government control and that “isolated and disparate” Taliban forces are in the process of being cleared.

Reports out of Afghanistan have said that while the government remains in control of government buildings, the Taliban appears to be in control of most neighborhoods. Additionally, about 100 Afghan forces and 20 civilians have been reported killed.

Updated at 6:47 p.m.