WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The second U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan this week was identified on Friday as Sergeant First Class Christopher Andrew Celiz of Summerville, South Carolina, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
Celiz, 32, died in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, after being wounded by “enemy small arms fire” during combat, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command said. The incident is under investigation.
He was treated immediately and evacuated to the closest medical facility, where he died of his wounds, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command said.
Celiz was on his seventh deployment since joining the military, and has posthumously been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
“Chris was a national treasure who led his Rangers with passion, competence, and an infectiously positive attitude no matter the situation. He will be greatly missed,” said Lieutenant Colonel Sean McGee, commander of Celiz’s battalion.
A member of the Afghan security forces was also killed and several other people were wounded, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
On July 7, Army Corporal Joseph Maciel, 20, of South Gate, California, was killed in an apparent “insider” attack by a member of local security forces, and two other service members were wounded, the DOD said.
The United States is preparing a review of strategy in Afghanistan, officials told Reuters, that would examine issues including the prospect of negotiations with the Taliban, U.S. troop presence and what progress has been made.
The White House has not yet formally ordered the review, but current and former U.S. officials said they were preparing for a government-wide appraisal in the coming months. The White House asked for a similar review after the president at the time, Barack Obama, unveiled an Afghanistan strategy in 2009.
American-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban government for harboring al-Qaeda militants. Since then, nearly 1,900 U.S. troops have been killed in the war, and a U.S, government watchdog recently reported the Afghan government controlled or influenced about 56 percent of the country.
U.S. President Donald Trump has opposed remaining in Washington’s longest war, but his advisers convinced him to stay. Last year, he authorized the deployment of 3,000 more troops, bringing the total to about 15,000.
A year on, the capability of Afghan security forces remains murky and the Taliban is expanding in rural areas.
Additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Kevin Liffey and David Gregorio