US soldiers look out over hillsides during a visit of the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan. File photo/AFP
Two US service members have been killed in combat in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.
The Nato Resolute Support mission announced their deaths first, providing no details about what happened and saying that their names would be withheld for 24 hours until their families could be notified.
Later, a US official said the two service members died in combat from small-arms fire without providing further information. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not yet been made public.
More than 2,400 US military personnel have died in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 to topple the Taliban, whose government had harbored Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
Now, the US and Taliban are in negotiations on an end to nearly 18 years of fighting in America's longest war.
The US formally ended its Afghan combat mission in 2014 but still provides extensive air and other support to local forces battling both the Taliban and an affiliate of the Daesh group.Associated Press
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted three vehicles of "foreigners" as they tried to enter the heavily guarded Shashdarak area where the Afghan national security authorities have offices.
US and Taliban officials have been negotiating in Qatar since last year on an agreement centred on the withdrawal of US forces, and an end to their longest-ever war, in exchange for a Taliban guarantee that international militant groups will not plot from Afghan soil.
The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul.
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai also defended the Taliban's role in recent bloodshed across the country after US President Donald Trump cited an attack that killed an American soldier as his reason for calling off negotiations earlier this month.
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