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FDNY member among Americans killed in Afghanistan

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack that killed three U.S. service members.

FDNY firefighter and U.S. Marine Christopher A. Slutman,

FDNY firefighter and U.S. Marine Christopher A. Slutman, of Ladder Company 27 in the South Bronx, was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, officials said. Photo Credit: FDNY

One of the three Americans killed Monday when their convoy hit a roadside bomb near the main U.S. base in Afghanistan was a member of the FDNY, officials said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio identified the firefighter as Christopher Slutman, a U.S. Marine and a 15-year-veteran of the FDNY.

In 2014, de Blasio said, he presented Slutman with the Fire Chief’s Association Memorial Medal to honor Slutman after he had rescued an unconscious woman from a burning apartment in the South Bronx.

“This, unquestionably, is an example of the measure of this man,” de Blasio said at an unrelated event about measles on Tuesday morning.

“Once again, a New Yorker serving in our military but also a member of our uniformed services, giving of himself to protect others, was lost yesterday tragically in Afghanistan,” the mayor said.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro confirmed that Slutman was with Ladder Company 27 in the South Bronx.

“Firefighter Slutman bravely wore two uniforms and committed his life to public service both as a New York City Firefighter and as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” Nigro said in a statement. “The hearts and prayers of the entire Department are with his loved ones and with the families of his fellow service members who lost their lives in service to our nation.”

Slutman is survived by his wife, Shannon, and their three young daughters, the FDNY said. Funeral arrangements were pending.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which also injured three other U.S. service members. The incident happened near Bagram air base close to Kabul, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement.

An Afghan contractor initially believed to have been killed along with the three Americans is alive, Colonel David Butler, a spokesman for U.S. Forces- Afghanistan, told Reuters.

Violence has been relentless in Afghanistan even though Taliban militants have held several rounds of talks with U.S. officials about a peace settlement. The talks began late last year, raising hopes for an end to the conflict.

The latest deaths bring the number of U.S. service member deaths in Afghanistan to seven in 2019, and a total of 68 U.S. military deaths since January 2015, according to U.S. government and NATO reports.

The death toll is one of the deadliest recent attacks against U.S. personnel. In November, a roadside bomb blast killed three U.S. service members near the central Afghan city of Ghazni.

Last month two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan while conducting an operation.

The war has taken a much larger toll on Afghan security forces and civilians.

President Ashraf Ghani, speaking at the World Economic Forum in January, said that about 45,000 Afghan security forces have been killed since he took office in September 2014, which works out to an average of 849 per month.

The Resolute Support Mission consists of 17,000 troops, about half of them from the United States. A smaller number of U.S. troops operate in Afghanistan under a counter-terrorism mission.

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