US Casualties in Helmand Province

One US service member was killed and two others were injured in a firefight in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Jan. 5, officials said. The troops were serving with Afghan forces on a train, advise, and assist mission when they came under fire, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Tuesday afternoon, noting that Afghan forces also were injured and that the fight was still going on. Two HH-60 Pave Hawk medical helicopters were called in to assist, Cook said, though one waved off successfully after taking fire. The other landed safely before sustaining damage to its rotor blades. It remained on the ground in Marjah at the time of the Pentagon briefing. “The situation in Helmand, and throughout Afghanistan, remains challenging, but we are confident the Afghan national security and defense forces are continuing to develop the capabilities and capacity to secure the country against a persistent insurgent threat,” Cook said. “We are deeply saddened by this loss,” Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan, said in a written release. “ … Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved.”