Two U.S. service members were killed Wednesday on a NATO mission in Afghanistan as Washington continues to negotiate a potential peace treaty with the Taliban.
NATO’s Resolute Support mission would not immediately reveal any details about the soldier’s identities. However, they did confirm that two people had been killed during an unspecified “operation” in the country, bringing the total number of deaths of U.S. service members this year to four.
“In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the name of the service members killed in action are being withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin is complete,” said NATO.
The deaths come amid NATO-brokered peace talks between Washington and the Taliban. The U.S. is currently negotiating a peace deal with the Islamic terrorist organization before the country’s presidential elections in November, potentially bringing an end to an 18-year-war which has become the center point of U.S. foreign policy.
However, violence continues to flare across the country, after at least six people were killed on Wednesday from blasts during Persian New Year celebrations in a Shiite area of Kabul. The attacks were later claimed by the Islamic State.
President Donald Trump is currently planning to withdraw at least half of the 14,000 troops that remain in Afghanistan, which represent the majority of NATO’s force. Under recent plans drawn up by the Trump administration, all American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan over the next three to five years, in exchange for a deal that allows the current government in Kabul to share power with the Taliban.
Having broken out in October 2001, the war on terror in Afghanistan has come at an enormous cost for the United States, costing nearly $1 trillion or at least $3 billion per month, 2,278 U.S. military deaths, and a further 20,426 injuries.