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US soldier killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

23 Dec 2019 Al Jazeera

A US soldier has been killed in action in an attack claimed by the Taliban group in northern Afghanistan. 

A US military statement on Monday did not identify the soldier or say where in Afghanistan the service member was killed.

It stressed that in accordance with US Department of Defense policy, the name of the service member killed in action is being withheld for 24 hours, until the notification to the family is complete.

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In a WhatsApp message to AFP news agency, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said fighters "blew up an American vehicle in Chardara district" of northern Kunduz province late on Sunday night.

The armed group further claimed that another US soldier and an Afghan commando were also wounded in the incident.

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There are currently around 12,000 US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations against armed groups

Last month, two US service members were killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter crashed in eastern Logar province.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that crash, saying they had downed the helicopter, causing many fatalities. The US military dismissed the Taliban claim as false.

Monday's death brings the number of US fatalities in Afghanistan this year to 20. There have also been three non-combat deaths this year. 

The US-Taliban peace talks were reopened earlier this month after US President Donald Trump called them off in September, citing the killing of a US soldier by the group.

Last week, the US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that the talks are approaching "an important stage" in the peace process.

The US and Taliban negotiators had taken a break following a Taliban attack on Bagram US military base this month in which two Afghan civilians were killed and more than 70 were wounded.

Original Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/soldier-killed-taliban-attack-afghanistan-191223053450593.html

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