KABUL—A U.S. service member was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday, July 13, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement.
It gave no further details and withheld the name of the service member until the next of kin were informed.
The latest fatality brings the tally of U.S. service member deaths in Afghanistan to at least 10 in 2019.
About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a U.S.-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some U.S. forces carry out counter-terrorism operations against hardline Islamist militant groups.
10th American combat casualty in Afghanistan this yearhttps://t.co/LmFMLa313k
— RT (@RT_com) July 13, 2019
A record 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed last year due to stepped-up air attacks by U.S.-led forces and more suicide bombings, the United Nations said in a February report.
President Trump wants to secure a political settlement with the Taliban to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan. The Taliban, however, demand a complete foreign force pull-out before entering into a formal peace agreement.
Two Service Members Killed
The U.S. military said on June 26, two of its service members were killed in Afghanistan, but did not offer any details surrounding the circumstances of their deaths.
The killings occurred a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a quick visit to the Afghan capital of Kabul where he said Washington was hopeful of a peace deal before Sept. 1.
It’s not clear if the deaths were the result of the war, which at nearly 18 years is America’s longest running. More than 2,400 U.S. service personnel have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led coalition invaded in October 2001 to oust the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Efforts to find a peaceful end to Afghanistan’s protracted war accelerated last year with the appointment of U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who will begin a fresh round of direct talks with the Taliban on Saturday in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, where the insurgents maintain a political office.
Khalilzad has held a series of meetings in Kabul as well, in an effort to restart Afghan-to-Afghan talks that would also include the Taliban. Such a planned meeting was scuttled earlier this year because neither side could agree on participants.
The Taliban have refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, calling it a U.S. puppet, but have said they would talk with government officials if they arrive at the meeting as ordinary Afghans.
June 26’s U.S. military statement announcing the killings of the U.S. service members was a terse, two-paragraph announcement. The statement also said the identities of the soldiers would not be released until their families had been notified.
Talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban have focused on U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal and guarantees from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not again become a safe haven for terrorists to plan global attack like 9/11. Pompeo said the United States and the Taliban were close to a deal on countering terrorism.
Pompeo added that discussions with the Taliban have also begun on U.S. troop withdrawal.
“While we’ve made clear to the Taliban that were prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear we’ve not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” Pompeo said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.