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Two US troops die in combat in Afghanistan

Two U.S. service members were killed and another two were wounded in action Saturday in Afghanistan.

The troops died after their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province. The service members were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission, officials said in a press release.

Their names and other biographical information will be released 24 hours after the notification of next of kin is completed, officials added.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the bomb occurred close to Kandahar Airfield in the morning.

The deaths are the first for U.S. troops in 2020. Last year, the U.S. military’s combat casualties in Afghanistan were the highest in five years.

Soldiers accounted for 14 of the Defense Department’s 17 hostile deaths in Afghanistan in 2019, according to Pentagon figures from December. The other three killed last year were Marines. More than 190 U.S. troops were wounded in the country last year.

The two new deaths have not been added to the Pentagon’s casualty statistics yet, however the figures note that three troops have already been wounded in the country in 2020.

Currently, roughly 13,000 U.S. troops are deployed to Afghanistan. U.S. and Taliban representatives are engaged in ongoing peace negotiations, which President Donald Trump previously ended in September following another Taliban attack that killed an Army paratrooper near Bagram Air Field. The talks were restarted earlier in December.

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