The U.S. Defense Department confirmed on Monday that three of its service personnel died of wounds suffered in a roadside IED (improvised explosive device) attack in eastern Afghanistan two days ago.
According to a statement posted on its website, the soldiers were supporting 'Operation Enduring Freedom' when their unit was hit by the bomb explosion in the Afghan eastern province of Paktia on November 3.
The Department identified the deceased as Staff Sgt. Dain T. Venne, Spc. Ryan P. Jayne and Spc. Brett E. Gornewicz. All of them were attached to the 178th Engineer Battalion, 412th Theater Engineer Command, Oswego, New York.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan had reported the incident on Saturday itself. But it did not disclose the identities or nationalities of the deceased in accordance with its policy of not disclosing such details until the home country of the victims does so.
According to media estimates, some 374 ISAF personnel, including 282 Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year. Of late, roadside bombings using IEDs have become a hallmark of Taliban strategy against NATO forces in Afghanistan, as it avoids direct confrontation with the foreign troops while increasing casualties.
Currently, there are over 104,900 foreign troops from more than 48 countries in Afghanistan to contain a resurgent Taliban in the land-locked country. The United States is the single biggest contributor to the coalition force, with 68,000 soldiers on the ground to fight Taliban insurgency alongside their NATO and Afghan partners.
The U.S. and other allied nations involved in the Afghan mission are currently making serious efforts to get the Afghan security forces ready and capable of handling the country's security before the planned withdrawal of coalition troops by the end of 2014.
ISAF has already begun the process of entrusting security responsibilities of several provinces to Afghan forces. However, there are wide concerns about the ability of Afghan security forces to counter the Taliban insurgency without the same level of foreign military assistance and presence.
by RTT Staff Writer
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