US Special Forces Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Identified
Staff Sgt. Joshua Beale Becomes Second US Soldier to be Killed in Afghanistan in 2019
The US Department of Defense has identified the second US serviceman to die in Afghanistan this year as US Special Forces Staff Sgt. Joshua Beale of Carrollton, Virginia. He was 32.
Sgt Beale died as a result of injuries sustained from enemy small arms fire during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Last week, 26-year-old US Army Ranger Cameron Meddock of Spearman, Texas, became the first U.S. casualty of 2019 in Afghanistan. US forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for 17 years.
Around 2,400 U. military personnel have died in Afghanistan since American forces launched an offensive following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Some 14,000 troops remain in Afghanistan to train and advise local military forces and to conduct counter-terrorism operations.
US President Donald Trump has frequently questioned the US presence in Afghanistan during the campaign, and in December reports emerged that he was pondering a major withdrawal, along with a pullback from Syria. The latter decision prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Trump has not revealed his plans regarding Afghanistan, but the suggestion of a drawdown has aroused strong opposition from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
US officials have been holding peace talks in Qatar with representatives of the Taliban, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed over 100 people Monday in an Afghan intelligence base at Maidan Shahr.
On Wednesday, Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency said that it had killed the mastermind behind that attack in an air strike Tuesday.
Source: US Department of Defense.
Image: US Army soldiers on patrol, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan (DVIDS, 2018).