Two US soldiers killed in Afghanistan: NATO
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is greeted by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
Two US service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, NATO said, the latest international casualties as the US and the Taliban prepare for a new round of talks.
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”.
The Taliban claimed in a statement they killed two American soldiers in an ambush in Sayed Abad district of southern Wardak province on Wednesday, but there was no immediate confirmation from NATO whether it was the same attack.
The blast brings to nine the number of US service members killed in Afghanistan so far this year, compared to 12 killed in all of 2018.
Last September the US began a fresh push to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to end America’s longest war. The next round of talks between the Taliban and the US are set to begin on June 29 in Doha.
The talks have centered on four issues: counter-terrorism, the foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue, and a permanent ceasefire.
Ghani to visit Pak to step up peace effort
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani will visit Pakistan on Thursday to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, less than a week after its neighbour hosted Afghan opposition leaders to discuss ways to end an 18-year-long war
Ghani’s third visit since 2014 comes as efforts have intensified to reach a political settlement with the Taliban and end decades of war in Afghanistan, which has long accused Pakistan of supporting the Islamist insurgent movement