Two US service members killed in Afghanistan

Two US service members killed in Afghanistan
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Two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan on Friday during an operation as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

NATO provided no further details in a statement and declined to reveal the service members’ names until next of kin are notified.

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The deaths bring the number of U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan to at least four in 2019 as the military continues to aid Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban. 

The war against the group, which was ousted from power in 2001 and continues to wage an insurgency campaign against the government while pursuing peace talks with the U.S., has taken a stark toll on the country’s population.

President Ashraf Ghani in January said that roughly 45,000 Afghan service members have been killed since he took office in September 2014. Nearly 4,000 Afghan civilians were killed in 2018 following an increase in suicide bombings and U.S.-led air assaults, according to a United Nations report.

The U.S. and the Taliban touted progress after agreeing to a preliminary peace framework in January, though lawmakers have proven skeptical about a political resolution with the terrorist group. 

NATO’s Resolute Support mission consists of about 17,000 troops, about half of which are supplied by the U.S. A smaller contingent of U.S. troops are also in the country on an independent counterterrorism mandate.