U.S. Army soldier dies after Afghanistan attack

A 19-year-old American soldier has died in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province from wounds received in an attack, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Private First Class Hansen Kirkpatrick of Wasilla, Alaska, died on Monday in the incident, which was under investigation, a Pentagon statement said. Further details were not available.

Kirkpatrick was assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at Fort Bliss, Texas. About 1,500 hundred soldiers from the brigade have been in Afghanistan as part of a regular train, advise and assist deployment since early this year.

In a statement released by the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan command, Gen. John Nicholson the senior officer in charge of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan said:

“At a time when we remember the patriots who founded our nation in freedom, we are saddened by the loss of one of our comrades who was here protecting our freedom at home,” We will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers as we reflect on the sacrifice he and others have made to secure our freedoms and help make Afghanistan a better place.”

Large stretches of the restive province in southern Afghanistan, source of much of the world’s illegal opium supply, are in the hands of Taliban insurgents, who have steadily pushed back Afghan forces that now control less than 60 percent of the country.