Two US service members killed in NATO-led mission in Afghanistan

Two US service members killed in NATO-led mission in Afghanistan
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Two U.S. service members supporting the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan died Wednesday, the coalition announced in a statement.

NATO provided no further details and the service members’ names will be withheld until 24 hours after next of kin is notified, per Department of Defense protocol.

The incident brings the total number of U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan this year to 16, two of which were not combat related. The latest deaths come less than a month after two other service members were killed in the country.

The U.S. military is in Afghanistan to aid Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban, a group that was ousted from power in 2001 but continues to wage an insurgency campaign against the Afghan government.

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The deaths come as the Trump administration indicates that it is in the final stages of peace talks with the Taliban to end the nearly 19-year-long war in the country.

Questions have risen in recent days, however, as to whether such negotiations would end violence in Afghanistan after Islamic State fighters in country, known as ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for a Saturday attack on a Kabul wedding that killed 80 people and wounded more than 150.

While some U.S. forces are in the country supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support, a separate mission taken on by U.S. Special Forces teams seeks to root out ISIS-K. However, the group continues to remain a threat six months after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE declared victory over the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHouse Democrats demand administration consult with Congress before determining refugee admissions Pompeo jokes about speaking at Trump hotel: 'The guy who owns it' is 'going to be successful' Why the Taliban still want dialogue with the United States MORE on Tuesday acknowledged that there are “certainly places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago.”