U.S. Soldier Killed in Afghanistan, Bringing 2017 Combat Deaths to Seven

U.S. Army soldiers salute at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan / Getty

An American soldier was killed in Afghanistan over the weekend by an indirect fire strike in the southern Helmand province, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

The death of Pfc. Hansen Kirkpatrick, 19, on Monday marked the seventh U.S. combat death in Afghanistan this year. The Pentagon did not release any further details and said the incident is under investigation.

Three American troops were killed last month by an Afghan soldier in the country's eastern region. The death rate is strikingly high compared to 2016, when a total of nine U.S. troops were killed while supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in April that 2017 will be "another tough year" for the Afghan Security Forces and international troops who are fighting against the Islamic State and a resurgent Taliban. Several senior level defense officials have said the war is at a stalemate.

Mattis told senators last month that the White House will submit an updated Afghanistan strategy proposal to Congress by mid-July.

The Trump administration since March has been weighing the deployment of 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to the country. The additional forces would contribute to mounting advise-and-assist operations with local military forces who are combatting the Taliban.