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Two American Service Members Killed in Afghanistan

(Updated)

U.S. soldier in Now Zad
U.S. soldier in Now Zad district of Helmand province in Afghanistan / AP
• November 3, 2016 9:57 am

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Two American service members were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday during operations against the Taliban in the Kunduz Province.

According to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, the service members came under fire when helping Afghan forces clear a Taliban position and disrupt the insurgent group's operations in Kunduz, the provincial capital. Two other American service members were also wounded in the attack.

The Pentagon later released a statement on the incident with different figures, saying that four U.S. service members were wounded and some Afghan forces killed. Three local troops and twenty-six civilians died, according to the Associated Press.

"On behalf of all U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, today's loss is heartbreaking and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of our service members who lost their lives today. Our wounded soldiers are receiving the best medical care possible and we are keeping them and their families in our thoughts today, as well," Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, said in a statement.

"Despite today's tragic event, we are steadfast in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation," Nicholson said.

The Pentagon has not released the identities of the fallen service members, pending next-of-kin notification.

The deaths are the latest in a series of American fatalities in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Just two weeks ago, an American soldier and Army civilian employee died in an attack near a coalition base in Kabul. Earlier in October, an American soldier was killed during operations agains the Islamic State in the Nangarhar Province, in what the Pentagon later described as a "combat situation."

U.S. and allied forces are training, advising, and assisting local Afghan forces fighting the Taliban. American and Afghan forces have also partnered in a counterterrorism mission to root out the Khorasan Province, an ISIS offshoot in Afghanistan and Pakistan, from the war-torn country.

President Obama marked an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Since then, the Taliban has made gains in rural areas and continued to launch attacks on key population centers.

U.S. military leaders have described the situation as a "stalemate" between Afghan forces and the Taliban. The Afghan government controls or influences between 65 and 70 percent of the country's population and the Taliban about 10 percent, according to Pentagon estimates. The remaining quarter of the population is contested.

According to a watchdog report released over the weekend, the Afghan government lost 2 percent of its territory during the summer of heavy fighting.

UPDATE: 10:58 A.M.: This post was updated to include new Pentagon figures on the number of U.S. soldiers injured and the number of civilians killed in an AP report.

Published under: Afghanistan, Military, Taliban