2 US service members killed in Afghanistan attack identified

Two U.S. service members were killed and two others reportedly were wounded after a roadside bomb hit a U.S. Army vehicle Saturday in Afghanistan.
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Two U.S. service members were killed and two others reportedly were wounded after a roadside bomb hit a U.S. Army vehicle Saturday in Afghanistan.

Taliban claim responsibility for Saturday explosion

The two U.S. service members who were killed Saturday after a roadside bomb hit a U.S. Army vehicle in Afghanistan have been identified.

Pfc. Miguel Villalon, 21, of Aurora, Illinois, was killed in the attack, according to Fox 32 Chicago.

Besides Villalon, Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia, was identified as the other fatality, according to the Department of Defense. Two other service members reportedly were injured in the attack.

Villalon and McLaughlin were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to officials.

“Miguel was a young soldier with dreams for the future and a desire to make a difference in the world today,” Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, a veteran, told Fox 32 in a statement. “Much like all of us who have left from our hometown of Aurora to serve our country, our goal is to do our job well and return to our family and friends. Sadly, Miguel made the ultimate sacrifice as he protected our freedom from the front lines. The City of Lights shines much dimmer because of this loss. We’ll stand with his family and provide support. Godspeed, young soldier.”

NATO and Afghan officials confirmed the attack early Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it occurred in the southern Kandahar province.

The Taliban control about half of Afghanistan, and militants continue to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and American forces.