Two battles between the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition and militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant on Saturday point up the danger faced by US and British Special Operations Forces in country as well as their indigenous colleagues as they engage the ISIL menace directly or indirectly.A US SOF member was killed in action against ISIL-Khorasan in Afghanistan,according to US Navy Captain Bill Salvin,Spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Kabul.In a press release on 8 April 2017,CAPT Salvin said the US service member was killed while conducting operations against ISIL-Khorasan in Nangarhar Province of Eastern Afghanistan.The American was a member of the SOF team fighting ISIL along with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in Achin District of Nangarhar.No further information was released pending notification of next of kin.
The Afghan War is now,at more than 15 years in length,the longest war in US history.In the course of the war,at least 2249 US troops have died,as well as hundreds of other NATO and coalition troops.Some 20,210 American soldiers have been wounded in the conflict.
ISIL refers to Nangarhar as being its "Khorasan Province."*
Meanwhile in Syria,about 30 ISIL militants staged a raid on an OIR coalition Special Operations Forces base used by both US and British SOFs,as well as OIR-affiliated Syrian rebels.The al-Tanf base,near the Jordanian border,came under attack after US forces had withdrawn into the desert following the launch of 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian government air base,in retaliation for an Assad regime use of chemical weapons against civilians.The Islamist extremists,dressed in Syrian rebel uniforms,stormed the base with suicide bombers who blew the gate up.The surviving militants surged onto the base and opened fire on the inhabitants.A fierce,three-hour firefight erupted when US SOFs and their Syrian colleagues rushed back from the desert to drive ISIL out.Two of the Syrian allies were killed in the battle,despite intensive OIR coalition close air support.No US casualties were reported;nor was information released regarding British SOF participation in the battle,as is customary in the very close-mouthed British special operations approach.
The ISIL assault on the al-Tanf base was described by a US official as having been serious,complex and coordinated.The facility is used for train,advise and assist by OIR coalition SOFs and their Syrian rebel allies.