Published: Sun, July 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Afghan forces, U.S. service member killed in Taliban attacks

Afghan forces, U.S. service member killed in Taliban attacks

The Taliban, believing they have an upper hand as they seek a United States troop withdrawal, have refused to negotiate with the internationally recognized government or to halt its deadly campaign of attacks.

In a telephone interview, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the terrorist group was behind Saturday's killing, even as USA peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding talks with the Taliban in recent weeks to try and negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan.

The NATO-led security mission of about 20,000 foreign troops consists mainly of American soldiers and it is mandated to train, assist and advise Afghans security forces battling the Taliban.

Over 2,400 US service members have died since the war started in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks.

He said three attackers were killed by security forces and two others were arrested.

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Between January and March this year, air operations by Afghan and global forces have caused at least 145 deaths, accounting for almost 25 percent of the total deaths during that period, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in its quarterly report in April. The bomber, a 13-year-old boy, killed six people and wounded several others. The statement also said the identities of the soldiers would not be released.

The violence comes amid intensified USA -led efforts to strike a deal with the Taliban to bring an end to the 18-year-old Afghan war.

The report said "The Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various groups, including the Taliban and its component Haqqani Network (HQN), al-Qa'ida core (AQ), al-Qa'ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ISIS-K, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)".

"While we've made clear to the Taliban that we are prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear we've not yet agreed on a timeline to do so", Pompeo said.

Pompeo added that discussions with the Taliban have also begun on USA troop withdrawal.

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