Wednesday’s deaths bring to at least 14 the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Afghanistan this year
Two U.S. military personnel were killed on Wednesday in Afghanistan, NATO announced, as talks between the U.S. and the Taliban are set to resume in Qatar, with Washington seeking a way out of America’s longest war.
The identity of the two service members “killed in action” was not released, pending notification of their next of kin, Resolute Support, the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
The deaths bring to at least 14 the number of members of the U.S. military to be killed in action in Afghanistan this year.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the top U.S. negotiator on Afghanistan, has headed to Doha and says he is ready to conclude peace talks with the Taliban. After that, the veteran diplomat will need to lay the groundwork for peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which would come after any deal with Washington.
The State Department said earlier this week that Khalilzad will head to Afghanistan after Doha to work on setting up those subsequent talks.
U.S. President Donald Trump, a vocal critic of the Afghan war before he was elected in 2016, said U.S. forces have been stuck there acting like a “police force.” He is believed to want to see a withdrawal of most of the more than 13,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan before November 2020, when he will seek re-election.
But the Republican leader has acknowledged that some of those U.S. forces would have to stay. “We have to have a presence, yes. The Taliban does not respect the Afghan government,” Trump said earlier this week, adding: “It is a dangerous place and we have to keep an eye on it.”