Taliban terrorists have killed two American soldiers and wounded two others in northern Afghanistan’s restive Kunduz province, bringing the total number of U.S. military fatalities in the ongoing 15-year-old-plus war in the country to 2,244.
The Pentagon identified the two U.S. Army fatalities as Capt. Andrew Byers, 30, of Rolesville, NC, and Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, PA, adding that they died on Thursday “of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.”
Breitbart News has learned that the U.S. military is only allowed to shoot at the Taliban in self-defense and when assisting Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) during combat. American forces lack the authority to offensively attack the terrorists.
“Two U.S. service members died [on Thursday] as a result of wounds sustained during operations in Kunduz district, Kunduz province today. Two other U.S. service members were wounded in the operation,” noted the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan in a statement.
“The service members came under fire during a train, advise and assist mission with our Afghan partners to clear a Taliban position and disrupt the group’s operations in Kunduz district,” it adds.
According to a Breitbart News analysis of Pentagon data, the majority (1,686), or about 75 percent, of the total 2,244 U.S. military deaths during the ongoing Afghanistan war have occurred since the U.S. government inaugurated Barack Obama as president for his first term in 2009.
Meanwhile, nearly 90 percent (17,477) of the total number of reported injuries (20,179) have taken place under Obama’s watch.
Although the Obama administration has repeatedly argued since the end of 2014 that the U.S. military is no longer engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan, assessments by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a U.S. watchdog agency, have determined that the U.S. combat mission continues.
So far this year, members of the U.S.-trained and funded ANDSF, which includes police and military units, have killed more American troops than the resilient Taliban. Such incidents are considered insider, or “green on blue,” attacks.
The latest U.S. military casualties come as security conditions continue to deteriorate across Afghanistan.
In its most recent quarterly report to Congress, SIGAR reveals that the U.S.-backed Afghan government has lost territory to terrorists in the country, primarily to the Taliban, which is believed to control more land now than at any time since the American forces dethroned the terrorist group in 2001.
American Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said:
On behalf of all U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, today’s loss is heartbreaking and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of our service members who lost their lives today. Our wounded soldiers are receiving the best medical care possible and we are keeping them and their families in our thoughts today, as well. Despite today’s tragic event, we are steadfast in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation.
Citing the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A), SIGAR reports that more than one-third (149) of the 407 districts across Afghanistan’s 34 provinces are either under the control (8) or influence (25) of terrorist groups or at risk (116) of coming under it.
So far this year, a total of seven U.S. troops have perished in Afghanistan, including one who died of a non-combat related injury in Kandahar, shows the Breitbart News analysis.
Of the remaining six Americans who have been killed in action, Afghan troops have killed three, the Taliban two, and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) branch in the region has killed one American.
The Breitbart News analysis of Pentagon data reveals that American military fatalities have more than quadrupled under Obama’s watch, from 558 before he became president to 2,244 now.
Data from SIGAR and the Pentagon shows that at least an additional 10 U.S. civilians or contractors been killed during combat operations in Afghanistan, and another two have died in non-combat related incidents, since the war started in October 2001.
Moreover, at least nine American civilians or contractors have been wounded during the war.
Of the 407 districts within the 34 provinces in Afghanistan, 37 percent (149) have been deemed by the U.S. military to be under the control or influence of terrorists, primarily the Taliban, or “contested” which refers to districts that have a “negligible meaningful impact from insurgents,” notes the watchdog agency,” notes SIGAR.
That means the U.S.-backed government only controls (88) or influences (170) about 63 percent of the country’s districts, marking a decrease from the 66 percent reported as of the end of May.