AUSTIN, Texas – A 20-year-old Marine from Laredo, Texas, was among the 13 American troops and more than a hundred Afghans killed in a suicide bombing Thursday near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, local officials said Friday.
The City of Laredo identified David Lee Espinoza as one of the U.S. service members killed in the attack in the capital of Kabul.
“Thank you for your service to the United States of America and Laredo. Your acts of courage and bravery will always be remembered in our community,” the City of Laredo said in a statement.
The office of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, R-Texas, also confirmed his death: “Mr. Espinoza, a Laredo Marine killed in Afghanistan, embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor. When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service,” Cuellar said in a statement.
“I mourn him and all the fallen heroes in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the Espinoza family in this extremely difficult time. The brave never die. Mr. Espinoza is a hero.”
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Espinoza was born in Laredo but grew up in Rio Bravo, KGNS-TV reported. He attended Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Laredo.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered flags in the state to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Monday in honor of Espinoza and other military members killed in the attack.
The death toll from the blast includes 11 U.S. Marines, a Navy hospital corpsman, and one Army soldier, American officials said. At least 18 U.S. service members were injured. It was the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since August 2011.
About 169 Afghan people died, officials told the Associated Press. CBS News was reporting that number at 170.
Evacuations of Americans and their allies were continuing in Afghanistan. The military’s target date for withdrawal from the country is Aug. 31
Contributing: Grace Hauck, USA TODAY
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