Army Ranger Killed Saturday Likely Shot by Afghan Forces

Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso, 25, from Leavenworth, Washington, died Nov. 24, 2018, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries sustained while engaging enemy forces in Nimruz province, Afghanistan. Defense Department photo
Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso, 25, from Leavenworth, Washington, died Nov. 24, 2018, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries sustained while engaging enemy forces in Nimruz province, Afghanistan. Defense Department photo

U.S. military officials announced Tuesday that the U.S. Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday was likely a victim of friendly fire.

Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso, a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, was killed during an operation to eliminate al-Qaida militants in Nimruz province.

"An initial review indicates Sgt. Jasso was likely accidentally shot by our Afghan partner force," according to an Operation Resolute Support press release. "There are no indications he was shot intentionally."

Early interviews indicate the tragic accident occurred "when the partnered force became engaged in a close-quarter battle during an assault on one of multiple barricaded al-Qaida shooters," the release states.

"Sgt. Jasso was killed defending our nation, fighting al-Qaida alongside our Afghan partners," Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of Resolute Support and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, said in the release. "All of us, and throughout our coalition of 41 nations, recognize the threats posed by groups such as al-Qaida and ISIS and are determined to fight them here."

The announcement about Jasso's death came as three U.S. service members were killed Tuesday in a blast that wounded four other Americans.

The three died when an improvised explosive device detonated near Ghazni. Three other service members and one American contractor were wounded in the blast.

The deaths of Jasso and the three service members bring the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this year to 13.

About 14,000 U.S. troops are deployed to Afghanistan to assist NATO's training and advising mission, while a smaller number help with a separate U.S. counterterrorism mission that targets groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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