A roadside bomb killed a U.S. service member on foot patrol Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan as part of a mission to fight a growing Islamic State affiliate, the U.S.-led coalition announced.
The blast unfolded in Nangarhar Province, where American and Afghan forces have been fighting ISIS-linked militants in recent months. The offshoot group, which has as many as 1,300 members, has been recruiting former Pakistani Taliban members with the allure of higher pay, U.S. officials told Stars and Stripes.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the service member died in a “combat situation,” but refused to call it combat when asked by Fox News.
Cook later said the service member was receiving combat pay and would likely receive combat decorations for his actions, but that determination had not yet been made. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.