Taliban kill US soldier in Afghanistan

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TEHRAN, IRAN - SEPTEMBER 18 : Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's (not seen) meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran on September 18, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

KABUL: The Taliban said their fighters killed a U.S. service member in Afghanistan on Monday and posted photographs of a bloodsoaked
backpack and the identity card of an American soldier to prove it. The U.S. military said in a statement an American service member was “killed in action”, but gave no details and withheld the name of the service member until the next of kin were informed. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said they killed the U.S. force member in a blast in the northern province of Kunduz. “Our fighters killed a U.S. force member and injured an Afghan commando,” Mujahid said in a text message, which included the photographs. About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a U.S.-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some U.S. forces carry out counterterrorism operations against Islamist militant groups. More than a dozen foreign force members have been killed in Afghanistan in 2019.
The United States has been in negotiations with Taliban militants over the past year on a deal under which the United States could withdraw its forces from its longest war in exchange for Taliban security guarantees. This month, U.S. negotiators said they would take a break from the talks after the insurgents launched a suicide attack on a large U.S. base. Afghan government forces, supported by the U.S. military, have recently stepped up operations against the Taliban in Kunduz. The Taliban control more territory than at any point since they were ousted from power in 2001. The Taliban on Monday claimed responsibility for an attack on an American convoy that killed one US soldier and, according to the insurgents, wounded several more. The killing is likely to have consequences for ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban. President
Donald Trump in September declared negotiations “dead” after the Taliban killed a US soldier in a Kabul bombing. Negotiations have since
restarted in Doha, but were earlier this month put on a “pause” following yet another bombing, this time at the Bagram airbase north of
Kabul. According to US Forces- Afghanistan, one American service member died in combat Monday following an attack. The Americans did not
release any additional information. In a WhatsApp message to foreign new agency, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said insurgents
“blew up an American vehicle in Char Dara district of Kunduz” late Sunday night. Depending on how one qualifies a combat-related death, at least 20 American troops have been killed in action in Afghanistan this year following Monday’s announcement. That makes 2019 the
deadliest for US forces since combat operations officially finished at the end of 2014, and highlights the challenging security situation that
persists across much of Afghanistan. More than 2,400 US troops have been killed in combat in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion
in October 2001. The attack comes one day after officials announced preliminary results in Afghanistan’s presidential elections that put President Ashraf Ghani on track to secure a second term.–Agencies