A day after assuming command in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller issued condolences Monday for the death of a U.S. service member killed in what was believed to be yet another "insider attack" by Afghan security personnel or insurgents wearing their uniforms.
"Our duty now is to honor him, care for his family and continue our mission," Miller said in a statement issued by NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. "The sacrifice of our service member, who volunteered for a mission to Afghanistan to protect his country, is a tragic loss for all who knew and all who will now never know him."
The statement did not describe the circumstances of the attack or give a location beyond saying that it occurred in eastern Afghanistan on Sept. 3. A second U.S. service member was wounded in the incident and was in stable condition, NATO said.
The identity of the fallen service member, the sixth killed in Afghanistan this year, will not be released until at least 24 hours after notification to next of kin, NATO said.
The death of the U.S. service member came a day after the ceremony in Kabul on Sunday in which Miller assumed command of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO Resolute Support mission from Army Gen. John Nicholson, who was leaving after 30 months as commander and is expected to retire.
The death of the service member Monday was the second this year from an insider attack for U.S. forces.
In July, 20-year-old Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, was killed and two other U.S. service members were wounded in an apparent insider attack in the Tarin Kowt district of Afghanistan's southcentral Uruzgan province.
Maciel was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Coalition forces were targeted in four insider attacks last year, including one that killed three U.S soldiers in eastern Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.
According to the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, "green on blue" insider attacks since 2007 have resulted in the deaths of at least 157 coalition personnel, and the "green on green" deaths of at least 557 members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
The insider attacks peaked in 2012 with the beginning of major withdrawals of U.S. and coalition troops.
From 2007-2012, insider attacks killed 52 U.S. troops and wounded 48, according to the Brookings Institution's Afghanistan Index. A total of more than 2,200 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan since 2001.
At the change of command ceremony Sunday, Miller, 57, a career Special Operations officer and West Point graduate, pledged to continue with the "conditions-based" strategy with no time limits emphasizing air power approved by President Donald Trump in August of 2017.
Currently, there are about 15,000 U.S. and 6,400 NATO troops in Afghanistan.
"The world recognizes Afghanistan cannot be a safe haven for terrorism, the world recognizes that we cannot fail. I know this has been a long fight, and it has been generations for us, for the Afghan people," said Miller, who most recently led Joint Special Operations Command, upon taking command in Afghanistan.
Miller was taking command amid renewed attacks by a resurgent Taliban and the continuing threat from the ISIS offshoot known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K. The Taliban recently rejected the offer of an extended ceasefire from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Ghani did not attend the change of command ceremony but met with Miller later Sunday at the presidential offices, according to Afghanistan's Tolo News.
Ghani "thanked Gen. Miller for taking the responsibility and wished him success," Ghani's office said.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.