Aug. 23 (UPI) — The Pentagon on Thursday identified two U.S. service members who died in combat this week in Afghanistan.
Master Sgt. Luis DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, of Chicopee, Mass., and Master Sgt. Jose Gonzalez, 35, of La Puente, Calif., died Wednesday. They were assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
The Department of Defense said the two died from injuries sustained from small arms fire while engaged in combat in Faryab province. The military said it was investigating the incident.
There are about 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, 14 of whom have died since the beginning of 2019.
U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller, commander of NATO’s Resolute Support mission, denied reports earlier this month that the Pentagon is scaling down operations in Afghanistan. The reports said the U.S. military had been ordered to stop advising the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and limit combat operations, as part of “technical details” of an agreement negotiated with the Taliban. Such a move would cut U.S. presence in Afghanistan to a few thousand troops.
“The characterizations of changes to our authorities and operations have no basis in fact,” Miller said. “We have no such orders and have made no such changes.”
U.S. forces and the Taliban have been negotiating an exit from Afghanistan for months.
DeLeon-Figueroa and Gonzalez were posthumously promoted to their ranks.