LASHKAR GAH, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) -- A U.S. Marine from Texas was killed on late Sunday evening when a roadside bomb exploded in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense said on Monday. It raises the number of coalition troops killed so far this year to 123.
The U.S. Department of Defense said 30-year-old Staff Sergeant Joseph H. Fankhauser, of Mason, Texas, was killed on Sunday while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, which is located in Afghanistan's south. He was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton in California.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Fankhauser died as a result of an improvised explosive device (IED) attack but gave no other details. "It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities," a brief statement from ISAF said.
Earlier on Monday, ISAF also confirmed the deaths of two other coalition service members as a result of an IED attack in eastern Afghanistan. The nationalities of the service members involved were not immediately disclosed by ISAF, but both are believed to have been U.S. service members.
Sunday's deaths raise the number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year to 123, most of them American and British service members, according to official figures. Four American service members were killed on late Thursday evening when their helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, possibly due to bad weather.
A total of 566 ISAF troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2011, down from 711 in 2010. A majority of the fallen troops were American and were killed in the country's south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians.
There are currently more than 130,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, including some 90,000 U.S. troops and more than 9,500 British soldiers. U.S. President Barack Obama previously ordered a drawdown of 23,000 U.S. troops later this year, and foreign combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
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