The U.S. military in Afghanistan has been ordered to wait days before announcing deaths of American service members, breaking with a long-standing policy.
Since the U.S. invasion in 2001, when a U.S. service member is killed in Afghanistan, the military command in Kabul makes the first announcement. As NBC News reports, this initial release is usually not specific or detailed, often identifying the area and basic information about the incident, but still withholding identifying information about the deceased.
Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO's Resolute Support Mission, ordered a change to the policy last month, and it has since been applied twice: on June 10 when three U.S. soldiers were killed and one wounded in an attack in the east, and again on Monday, July 3, when one U.S. soldier was killed and two wounded in Helmand Province.
U.S. Forces Afghanistan did not release a statement or inform the public that an American soldier was killed on Monday. Instead, Wednesday morning the Pentagon released a statement saying that PFC Hansen Kirkpatrick was killed in an indirect fire attack in the Nawah District on July 3.