A bomb killed a U.S. service member and wounded four when it exploded near their armored vehicle in eastern Afghanistan (search), the military said on Saturday.

The blast occurred Friday in Paktika province near the border with Pakistan (search). The wounded were rushed to nearby bases for treatment. One was in critical condition, one in stable condition and two have returned to duty, a military statement said.

It said the troops were providing security ahead of landmark legislative elections next month, which Taliban (search) terrorists have vowed to subvert.

"Our forces have gained a great deal against the enemy and our actions will ensure a safe and secure election next month," said Brig. Gen. James G. Champion, deputy commander of the U.S.-led coalition. "We will honor our fallen comrade by taking the fight to these cowards who are responsible for this attack. They will not be able to rest until they are either captured or killed."

The death brings to 188 the number of U.S. troops killed in and around Afghanistan since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban 2001.

It also comes amid a major upsurge in violence across Afghanistan that has left about 1,100 people dead in the past six months.