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American Soldier Killed Fighting ISIS In Afghanistan

| by Michael Howard

An American soldier was killed during an anti-ISIS operation in Afghanistan on April 8, according to a U.S. military spokesman.

"The soldier was mortally wounded late Saturday during an operation in Nangarhar Province," U.S. Navy Captain Bill Salvin wrote on Twitter, according to Reuters. Nangarhar Province is in eastern Afghanistan.

Salvin told Reuters that the unnamed soldier was a Special Forces operator. He added that the circumstances surrounding the incident were unclear and that details would be released at a later time.

"I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of our fallen comrade," Gen. John Nicholson said in a statement Afghanistan Resolute Support website, according to the New York Post.

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The soldier's death marks the first reported American military casualty in Afghanistan in 2017.

ABC News reports that since the war began in 2001, more than 2,200 American military personnel have lost their lives.

ISIS does not have a particularly strong presence in Afghanistan. According to Newsweek, the U.S. military expects to drive the terrorist group out of the country by the end of 2017. They currently old between three and five districts, where they terrorize residents with frequent attacks and executions.

One reason for ISIS' lack of success in Afghanistan is the fact that the Taliban -- which is stronger now than at any other time since the 2001 American invasion -- considers the group an adversary.

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"The Taliban sees ISIS as a competitor on the battlefield," Afghanistan Analysts’ Network told Newsweek. "When ISIS began appearing in Afghanistan and tried to get a foothold, the Taliban cracked down on them."

American Academy of Diplomacy president Ronald Neumann added that when ISIS attempted to expand into western Afghanistan, the Taliban "sent in reinforcements and badly damaged ISIS there."

While notorious for its own violence and cruelty, the Taliban reportedly views ISIS as too extreme.

"The Taliban is brutal but it usually does not overreach altogether in its brutality," Vanda Felbab-Brown of the Brookings Institute said. "ISIS in Afghanistan has applied the opposite tactics. It revels in brutality, brutality that is extreme even by Afghan standards."

Furthermore, locals are offended by ISIS' hostility toward their customs and culture.

"The group is completely anti-local culture," Hameed Hakimi, a research assistant at the U.K.-based Chatham House, explained. "It ignores issues of honor, belief in clans and ruler networks, hierarchies of society. For ISIS, framing a caliphate goes against all of this. It see itself as a purification."

Sources: Reuters, ABC News, New York Post, Newsweek / Photo Credit: U.S. Army via Wikimedia Commons

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