Albanian soldier dies in Afghanistan peacekeeping mission

Albania´s Defense Ministry on Wednesday reported the death of a soldier in Afghanistan, the second from the tiny Western Balkan country to die during the international peacekeeping mission.

The soldier, identified as Xhevahir Jazaj, died Tuesday night at 1810 GMT (1:10 p.m. EST), the ministry said in a statement. It didn’t specify the location or give any details about the circumstances.

The ministry said that the Albanian military was assisting an investigation by the command of the Resolute Support Mission operation in Afghanistan, made up of around 10,000 troops from 38 countries, and they are gradually withdrawing troops.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has been part of the international mission since 2010. The country currently has 99 troops in Afghanistan, located at two bases in Herat and Kabul.

The ministry expressed condolences to the family and “assure the personnel in the mission and their families of continuous support in the successful accomplishment of their mission.”

Defense Minister Niko Peleshi communicated with both army contingents in Herat and Kabul, saying that they “are our pride in relations with … NATO and our strategic partners, the U.S. and EU.”