Pentagon identifies troops killed in Afghanistan explosion

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The Pentagon on Wednesday identified the three US service members killed in Afghanistan earlier this week.

Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, of Hookstown, Beaver County were killed Tuesday when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device near the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack — the deadliest against US service members in Afghanistan since 2017 — calling the tank “completely destroyed.”

The incident remains under investigation, according to a news release from the Department of Defense on Wednesday.

Ross and Emond were assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Elchin was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have been resurgent near Ghazni, prompting the US to send additional troops into the region to help Afghan forces. US Gen. Scott Miller, the head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was photographed earlier this month carrying a fully loaded M4 carbine assault rifle while visiting the Ghazni area.

A report released by the US government’s ombudsman of the war found insurgent influence or control in Afghanistan has risen to 12.5% of districts from just 7%.

Approximately one-third of Afghanistan is a “contested” area, according to the report.

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