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Navy SEAL Killed in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A Navy SEAL from Arcata, Calif., has been killed in southern Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Sunday night.

The government says Petty Officer 1st-class Kevin Ebbert was killed by gunfire Saturday in Uruzgan province.

Capt. Robert Smith, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Group Two, said, “We have lost a courageous patriot who selflessly answered our nation’s call to defend freedom and protect us from terrorism.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports U.S. and allied military planners are working on plans for a force that would remain in Afghanistan after the 2014 handover to Afghan security forces.  The report quotes senior officials as saying the force would include a small counterterrorism unit of up to 1,000 members that would focus on al Qaeda.  

Final decisions on the exact size of the entire U.S. and NATO presence in Afghanistan after 2014 have not yet been made, but one option calls for approximately 10,000 American troops and several thousand allied troops.

There are currently some 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio