ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – Updated July 13, 2019, 10:35 a.m.
The NATO-led security alliance in Afghanistan says an American soldier was killed “in action” Saturday, which brings to 11 the number of deaths among the U.S. military this year in the Afghanistan.
The Resolute Support mission gave no further details and withheld the name of the service member until the next of kin were informed. The fatality reportedly has brought to 2,430 the number of U.S. service members killed since the Afghan war started in October of 2001.
The Taliban insurgency said in a brief statement its fighters had planted a road side bomb in Sayedabad district of the eastern Afghan province of Wardak.
It went on to claim the powerful blast struck an American armored personnel carrier, killing two “invaders [references to foreign troops] and injuring three others”, though the insurgent claims are often inflated.
A Taliban ambush in the same Afghan district late last month had killed two American soldiers.
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.
Meanwhile, Afghan officials told VOA that a group of heavily armed “suicide bombers” stormed a police base in Qala-e-Naw, the capital of the northwestern Badghis province, killing at least three security personnel and wounding eight others.
The Afghan interior ministry said security forces were locked in an intense exchange of fire with the assailants, killing two of them and trying to neutralize the rest. The attackers were said to be holding up in a nearby hotel.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it “killed and injured” a large number of “enemy fighters.”
The violence comes amid intensified U.S.-led efforts to strike a deal with the Taliban to bring an end to the 18-year-old Afghan war.
But the peace negotiations have not deterred the insurgents from resorting to violence and there has been an upsurge in recent weeks, killing scores of Afghan forces.
The Taliban rejects calls for a cease-fire until Washington agrees and announces a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
On Thursday, China hosted senior officials from Russia, the United States and Pakistan for consultations on the Afghan peace process. “The four sides encouraged all parties to take steps to reduce violence leading to a comprehensive and permanent cease-fire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting in Beijing.