Pentagon identifies service member killed in Afghanistan as 32-year-old South Carolina soldier

Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz (Photo: U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — A US soldier in Afghanistan died Thursday from “a wound sustained during a combat operation,” the US military said in a statement.

The Pentagon identified the fallen soldier Friday as Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, from Summerville, South Carolina.

Celiz died from “wounds sustained as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting operations in support of a medical evacuation landing zone in Zurmat district, Paktiya province” in eastern Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said Friday.

An Afghan security force member was also killed and several Afghans were wounded during the incident, according to US Forces Afghanistan, which oversees US troops in the country.

Celiz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.

He is the fourth American service member killed in Afghanistan in 2018.

US combat operations in eastern Afghanistan typically target the local ISIS affiliate and other international terrorist organizations there as part of the US-Afghan counterterrorism mission.

That mission is separate from the larger non-combat NATO-led training and advisory mission, known as Resolute Support.

While US deaths in Afghanistan have become rarer in recent years, Thursday’s incident comes less than a week after another US service member, Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel, was killed in what the US military is calling “an apparent insider attack.”

On Thursday, NATO allies and operational partners agreed to sustain the non-combat advisory mission in Afghanistan “until conditions indicate a change in the mission is appropriate.”

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