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US service member killed in Afghanistan – Taliban claims responsibility

German memorial in the camp Kunduz Afghanistan. (Mike Ax/Wikimedia Commons)
December 23, 2019

A U.S. service member was killed in combat in Afghanistan on Monday and the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A NATO Resolute Support Mission press release said only, “A U.S. service member was killed in action today in Afghanistan.”

No other details were provided.

“In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the names of the service members killed in action are being withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin is complete,” the release stated.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the New York Times that the Taliban planted the explosives to target U.S. and Afghan forces.

Mujahid also told AFP that the Taliban “blew up an American vehicle in Char Dara district of Kunduz.”

A U.S. official told AFP that the U.S. service member was inspecting a Taliban weapons cache when the explosion occurred.

“This was not the result of an attack as the enemy claims,” the official said.

The explosion also injured another U.S. soldier and an Afghan soldier, Afghan Army commander Abdullah Ghulami confirmed to the NYT.

“The Taliban’s weapon depot was destroyed,” Ghulami said.

Monday’s death marks the 20th U.S. troop death in Afghanistan in 2019.

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

President Trump has expressed that the war in Afghanistan has gone on “long enough” and the U.S. has been trying to strike a peace deal that would involve a withdrawal of some U.S. troops.

Recent reports indicated that as many as 4,000 troops could be soon withdrawn from Afghanistan.