July 29, 2019 / 5:47 PM / 2 months ago

Two U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan on Monday, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement, as the United States seeks to reach a negotiated end to the nearly 18-year-old war.

It gave no further details and withheld the names of the service members until next of kin were informed.

The incident brings the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this month to three and at least 11 in 2019.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that according to initial information it was a “green-on-blue” attack.

Insider attacks, often known as “green on blue” attacks, in which Afghan service members or attackers wearing Afghan uniforms fire on U.S. or coalition troops, have been a regular feature of the conflict in Afghanistan, although their frequency has diminished in recent years.

The official said the incident took place in Kandahar. The official added that this was initial information and could change.

About 14,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan as part of the U.S.-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces and to carry out counter-terrorism operations.

Despite talks between the United States and the Taliban, violence in the country continues.

The death toll from a suicide attack on the Kabul office of Amrullah Saleh, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s running mate in September elections, reached 20 with at least 50 wounded, officials said on Monday as cleanup operations began.

Sunday’s attack added to an anxious mood in Kabul, where there is concern over chaotic election preparations and uncertainty about the future of U.S. military support for the Afghan government.

U.S. diplomats have been talking with the Taliban for months to agree a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees. The talks are expected to resume early next month amid increasing expectations that the two sides are close to an agreement.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by Susan Thomas

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