Two more service personnel killed in Afghanistan

Two more service personnel killed in Afghanistan

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A paratrooper assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division scans their surrounding while on a mission in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on July 20 (Photo by Maj. Thomas Cieslak)

WASHINGTON – Two U.S. service personnel were killed in Afghanistan on Monday, the Pentagon said.

Details of the deaths were not provided, following a Pentagon policy to withhold all information for 24 hours until next-of-kin are informed.

The deaths, if the result of hostile fire, would be the 11th and 12th from attacks. Another two service personnel died in non-hostile deaths in Afghanistan this year, as well as , and at least two defense contractors have been killed in the country in 2019.

Some news reports indicated the two U.S. personnel were killed in an insider attack at Kandahar.

Data shows that 2,429 U.S. military personnel have died in Afghanistan through hostile actions since U.S. forces first arrived in the country on Oct. 7, 2001.

There are about 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Previous yearly killed in action totals are 17 in 2018, 15 i 2017, 14 in 2016, 22 in 2015 and 55 in 2014. The high mark was 499 in 2010.

Also Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Trump had directed him to decrease the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by the November 2020 presidential election, according to news reports.

Monday’s  deaths came one day after a Sunday attack against the Kabul office of the running mate of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and former chief of the intelligence service, Amrullah Saleh, rose to at least 20 people on Monday, according to news reports.

Sunday marked the first day of campaigning for presidential elections set for September 28. Ghani is seeking a second term on promises to end the 18-year war.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Over the weekend the Taliban, which Washington says is engaging in peace talks for more than a year, again said it would not meet directly with the Kabul government to negotiate, according to news reports.

Sunday marked the first day of campaigning for presidential elections scheduled for September 28. President Ashraf Ghani is seeking a second term on promises of ending the 18-year war.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper was not asked any questions about Afghanistan during his confirmation hearing two weeks ago.

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