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US service member killed in Taliban car bombing as they try peace deal with US

Street scene in Kabul, Afghanistan. (ICMA Photos/Flickr)
September 05, 2019

Another U.S. service member has died in a bombing in Afghanistan, marking the second U.S. troop death this week.

The U.S. service member was “killed in action today in Kabul, Afghanistan” along with a Romanian service member, both of whom were part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, according to a press release on Thursday.

No other details were provided in the press release, but later reports indicated that the two service members were among 10 killed in a suicide car bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

The bombing also injured 42 people and destroyed 12 vehicles, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told the Associated Press.

The explosion took place at a checkpoint in eastern Kabul near a district containing the U.S. Embassy, the NATO Resolute Support mission and other coalition efforts. The checkpoint has been a target for Taliban attacks in the past.

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Officials recovered the tangled wreckage of what appeared to be a NATO vehicle.

Another car bombing took place outside an Afghan military base in the nearby Logar province, which killed four civilians and wounded for others. International forces had been reported in the area.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they had sought out “foreign” vehicles.

The attack comes amid reports that the U.S. is nearing a peace deal with the Taliban. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been meeting with Afghan leaders on the deal, which is close to signing and reportedly includes the withdrawal of some 5,000-6,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“Peace with a group that is still killing innocent people is meaningless,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement.

The death of the U.S. service member is the 16th death of a U.S. service member in Afghanistan combat this year.

It is also the deadliest year of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since it began in 2014.

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Last week, the Pentagon confirmed the Aug. 29 death of Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin B. Ard, 31, from Hyde Park, Utah, who died in combat in the Zabul province. Ard was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

On Aug. 21, two Green Berets were killed by small arms fire in Faryab Province, Afghanistan.

The two Green Berets, Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, of Chicopee, Mass., and Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, of La Puente, Calif., were identified and posthumously promoted to Master Sergent, according to a Pentagon press release.