2 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan: NATO

AFP

KABUL -- Two US service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday (June 26), the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission said.

The mission gave no further details, but the deaths came less than 24 hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Kabul and said he hopes for a peace deal with the Taliban "before September 1".

"In accordance with US Department of Defence policy, the names of the service members are being withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin is complete," the Resolute Support Mission said in a statement.

The Taliban claimed in a statement they killed two American soldiers in an ambush in Sayed Abad District of Maidan Wardak Province on Wednesday, while there was no immediate confirmation from NATO whether it was the same attack.

The deaths brings to nine the number of US service members killed in Afghanistan this year, compared to 12 killed in all of 2018.

The attack underscored the need to reduce the level of violence in Afghanistan, said Pompeo.

"I think this drives home the need for us to be successful in the mission set that we have undertaken in Afghanistan ... (for) a reconciliation, to reduce the level of violence, to reduce the level of risk to Afghans broadly and the risk to American service members," he told reporters in New Delhi Wednesday.

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