U.S. Soldier Killed in Afghanistan in Gun Battle With Al Qaeda Identified as Elite Army Ranger

A U.S. Army soldier killed in Afghanistan Saturday has been identified by U.S. Special Operations Command as Sergeant Leandro Jasso of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment.

Sergeant Leandro Jasso was mortally wounded by small-arms fire while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in the Khash Rod District, Nimruz Province, said the U.S. Department of Defense in a statement Sunday.

HZWDVOAPPFFE7EC7LSZHPCUPQQ Sergeant Leandro Jasso has been identified as the U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan on Saturday. Getty Images

Special Operations Command told Task and Purpose that after he was injured, Jasso “was immediately treated and medically evaluated to the nearest medical treatment facility, where he died of his wounds.”

Jasso’s death is under investigation, with additional details about the operation not immediately available.

Jasso was wounded in an operation against al Qaeda fighters in the remote part of southwestern Afghanistan, U.S. military officials said, according to The Washington Post. 

Nimruz province lies on Afghanistan's border with Pakistan and Iran, and is the location of lucrative Taliban-run drugs trafficking networks. Afghan officials in February warned that drug production was soaring in the province, with U.S. and Afgan forces conducting air strikes against drugs labs in the province in April.

U.S military commanders paid tribute to Jasso. 

“The loss of Sergeant Jasso is felt by his family and loved ones, by all who served with him and by all on this mission to protect our country and our allies,” General Austin “Scott” Miller, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

“Sergeant Jasso was a humble professional who placed the mission first, lived the Ranger Creed and will be deeply missed,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rob McChrystal, commander of 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in a statement.

Jasso enlisted in the Army in August 2012. He was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington at the time of his death, according to the U.S. Army statement. 

He is the 10th U.S. military service members to lose their lives in Afghanistan this year, and the second this month.

Earlier in November, Major Brent R. Taylor was killed in an “insider attack” in Kabul. Taylor was the mayor of the town of North Ogen in Utah, and was serving in the National Guard.

There have been a series of "insider" attacks in recent months, in which members of Afghan security services have turned their weapons on foreign military personnel serving alongside them. 

There are currently around 14,000 U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan, who are training the Afghan military in their fight against Islamist groups including the Taliban and an offshoot of the Islamic State.

While nearly 9,000 of these personnel are engaged in training and support, the rest are special forces soldiers deployed on counterterrorism operations. 

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