US soldier killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

US military statement does not identify serviceman as per protocol, as Taliban claim attack in Kunduz province.

    Since the beginning of 2019, 20 US service members have died in Afghanistan in combat-related incidents [File: AP]
    Since the beginning of 2019, 20 US service members have died in Afghanistan in combat-related incidents [File: AP]

    A United States 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 the 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 about 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 counterterrorism 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's claim as false.

    Monday's incident brings the number of US service member deaths 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 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.

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    SOURCE: News agencies