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La bandera de U.S. es vista con el fondo del Capitolio en Washington Mayo 8, 2015. Reuters/Yuri Grip

Since 2001, over 2,400 US service members who had been stationed in Afghanistan have died. The number climbed further when on Saturday, two US soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on January 11, 2020. On January 12, 2020, the Pentagon identified the two soldiers who lost their lives in the Southern Province of Kandahar.

Last year 23 US service members were killed during operations in the country. And now, 2020 has barely started and the US has already lost two service members stationed in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia, and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, have been identified by the Pentagon as the US service members who were killed on Saturday when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in the southern province of Kandahar.

The Department of Defense is currently investigating the case as the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the incident. Both the soldiers were conducting operations in Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission.

As per the 82nd Airborne Division, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, McLaughlin and Villalon were assigned to Company B, 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. It was the first combat deployment for both. Two other service members were also injured in the deadly attack.

“When our nation called for its best airborne combat engineers to deploy into harm’s way, Staff Sgt. McLaughlin and Pfc. Villalon answered without hesitation. They lived their motto, ‘Essayons,’ and embodied the values of the All-American engineer,” Col. Art Sellers, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, said in a statement. “Their loved ones are now surrounded by a caring community offering comfort and assistance through this difficult time.”

"These paratroopers represent the very best of our Nation and our Army. Three-time volunteers, they went when our Nation called and paid the ultimate sacrifice," Maj. Gen. James Mingus said in a statement. "They will be honored, mourned, but never forgotten and we are committed to taking care of their families for life." McLaughlin is survived by his wife and four children while Villalon has left behind his parents.

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