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Pentagon Identifies Americans Killed in Afghanistan

(Updated)

U.S. service members at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan in 2014 / AP
U.S. service members at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan in 2014 / AP
• October 21, 2016 10:00 am

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The Pentagon late Thursday identified an American soldier and Army civilian employee who were killed in Afghanistan earlier this week.

Sgt. Douglas J. Riney, 26, and Michael G. Sauro, 40, died Wednesday in Kabul "of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces," the Pentagon said in a release. The two Americans were both part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel, the U.S. train, advise, and assist mission in Afghanistan.

The NATO-led Resolute Support mission said earlier this week that an American service member and U.S. civilian died in an attack near a coalition base in Kabul on Wednesday. A release stated that the soldier and civilian were killed in an attack by an assailant who was later killed. The attack also injured one more U.S. service member and two additional American civilians.

NATO and an Afghan official told CBS News that the attack, which is currently under investigation, was perpetrated by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform.

The Pentagon initially said Riney and Sauro died on Thursday, but later updated the release to note they died on Wednesday.

Riney, of Fairview, Illinois, was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. Sauro, of McAlester, Oklahoma, was assigned to the Defense Ammunition Center at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.

According to CBS Dallas/Fort Worth, Riney, a decorated Army soldier, began active-duty service in July 2012 as a petroleum supply specialist. He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the combat mission in Afghanistan, between July 2014 and February 2015. He deployed in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in June.

Riney received several honors, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.

Sauro was deployed to Afghanistan in September and scheduled to return to the United States in March, according to KOCO News 5. It was his third deployment, as Sauro had previously deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009 and later in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012.

His colleagues described him as "a joy to work with" and a "stand-up guy."

U.S. and coalition forces are training and advising Afghan security forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. American forces are also engaged in a counterterrorism mission in the country to root out the Khorasan Province, the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

UPDATE 11:10 A.M.: This post was updated after the Pentagon changed its release to note that both men died on Wednesday. The original version incorrectly said the Americans died on Thursday.

Published under: Afghanistan, Army, Military