On Monday, an improvised explosive device killed three U.S. Marines and one Afghan contractor in an attack in Afghanistan.
The attack occurred near Bagram Air Base in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban has since claimed responsibility for the attack, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We feel and mourn the loss of these Americans with their families and loved ones,” said Gen. Scott Miller, Commanding General of Resolute Support and U.S. Forces Afghanistan. “They volunteered to protect their country. We will continue our mission.”
During a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer asked for a moment of silence to honor the Marines.
“It is still a very risk-filled world out there,” Spencer told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported Military.com.
One marine has been identified so far as Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, who served in the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department for 19 years, reported ABC News.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department paid tribute to Slutman.
“A nineteen-year member of the Department, Ladderman Slutman was mortally wounded while bravely serving his country in Afghanistan as a Staff Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps,” the department wrote. “Through this trying time, we will remember Chris for the father, husband, brother, son, and friend that he was, the moral character he displayed daily, and the courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad.”
Slutman was also a 15-year-member of the New York City Fire Department and served in the Bronx with Ladder 27. The Uniformed Firefighters Association announced Slutman’s death in a tweet on Tuesday.
“It is with a heavy heart that we offer our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Firefighter Christopher Slutman Ladder 27, a fifteen year member of the department and a friend to all in both of his firehouses. Christopher will be greatly missed. RIP” the group tweeted.
The identities of the other marines have not yet been released.
Secretary of State Pompeo offered his condolences in a tweet on Monday.
“My heartfelt prayers to the families of the Americans killed near Bagram,” Pompeo tweeted. “I condemn this disgusting terrorist act. U.S. service members have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan to keep up safe and no cowardly act of terror will impede our efforts to achieve peace.”
According to Military.com, the deaths of the three Marines mark the Marine Corps’ first combat casualties in over three years.
Last month, two U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, The Daily Wire reported:
Twenty-nine-year-old Spc. Joseph Collette of Lancaster, Ohio and 33-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay of Cortez, Colorado were in Kunduz Province when they were killed on a U.S.-Afghan military operation, CNN reported. According to officials, the two were killed from small arms fire while in battle against the Taliban. Afghan troops were also reportedly killed during the battle.
The United States reportedly has about 14,000 military personnel in Afghanistan.
Despite the Taliban perpetrating the attack, the U.S. is currently in peace talks with the Taliban and concluded their fifth round of talks last month and are expected to continue talks soon, according to The Wall Street Journal.