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Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan ‘likely accidentally shot by Afghan partners,’ NATO says

Army Ranger Sgt. Leandro Jasso. (U.S. Army/Released)
November 28, 2018

The cause of death has just been revealed for a U.S. soldier who died in Afghanistan on Saturday.

U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. Leandro Jasso, who was killed in western Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province, was likely killed by friendly fire, according to a NATO Resolute Support statement on Tuesday.

“An initial review indicates Sgt. Jasso was likely accidentally shot by our Afghan partner force.  There are no indications he was shot intentionally,” the statement said.

Gen. Scott Miller, Commanding General of Resolute Support and United States Forces – Afghanistan, said, “The loss of Sgt. 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.”

Jasso, a 25-year-old member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, was killed while fighting alongside Afghan forces against Al Qaeda terrorists in the Khash Rod district of Nimruz Province.

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U.S. and Afghan forces were carrying out an assault in a close-quarters environment where Al Qaeda militants had barricaded themselves when he suffered the critical wound.

Jasso was medically evacuated to the Garmsir district in Helmand Province where he later died.

“Sgt. Jasso was killed defending our nation, fighting al Qaeda alongside our Afghan partners,” Miller said. “All of us, and throughout our coalition of 41 nations, recognize the threats posed by groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS and are determined to fight them here.”

Jasso had served in the Army for over six years and was on his third deployment to Afghanistan, according to ABC News. He also led the Alpha Company within the Ranger Regiment’s 2nd Battalion.

Video showed Jasso’s casket arriving at Dover Air Force Base late Monday.

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Jasso was from Leavenworth, Wash. and based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee released a statement on Sunday, saying, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso. He gave his life in service to our country and we are profoundly grateful for his service and sacrifice.”

Jasso’s death marked the ninth among U.S. forces in Afghanistan this year.

Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan tweeted Monday, “We are all thinking of the Family of Army Sergeant Leandro Jasso,” adding, “Borrowing from Patton: ‘We should thank God such men lived.'”

Approximately 14,000 U.S. forces still remain in Afghanistan, even four years after the official conclusion of the NATO combat mission. U.S. forces are conducting several missions, from fighting against terrorist groups, to providing training and support to Afghan government and forces.

Just days after Jasso’s death, another three U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday in the Ghazni Province, south of Kabul.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the IED roadside bomb which claimed the lives of three service members and injured three more service members and one contractor.