The death of 39-year-old Jægerkorpset special forces sergeant René Brink Jakobsen late Wednesday night in Afghanistan marks the first time a Danish elite soldier has been killed in an international conflict.
Jakobsen was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on patrol with his unit, Task Force 7, in the Helmand province. Despite receiving immediate medical aid, Jakobsen was unable to be saved.
"We have lost one of our very experienced soldiers," General Major Agner Rokos, the head of the military command, Hærens Operative Kommando (HOK), said in a statement. "It is a hard blow for all of us and especially for the soldier's family."
The death of Jakobsen, who left behind a wife and three children, served as a stark reminder that Denmark remains engaged in the now eleven-year-old War in Afghanistan. It was the first time since September 2011 that the Danish forces suffered a casualty, and the 43rd death since Denmark deployed soldiers to Afghanistan in 2002.
With a history that dates back to 1785, Jægerkorpset has existed in its current form since 1961. It consists of around 150 soldiers who are specially trained and educated to carry out reconnaissance and combat tasks on land, sea and air, according to HOK. Jægerkorpset soldiers are based out of the Aalborg Air Base.
The head of Jægerkorpset, Claus Wammen, told DR News that the elite soldiers are currently training a special Afghan police unit.