Two U.S. service members were killed while conducting an operation Friday in Afghanistan, U.S. military officials said in a short press release this morning.
The Pentagon waits 24 hours after a deceased service member’s next of kin has been notified before releasing their identity.
The New York Times reported that the Americans were killed during a joint operation with Afghan commando forces in northern Kunduz province. One Afghan commando was also killed, an Afghan spokesman told the Times.
The joint team was conducting an operation against the Taliban in Gul Tepa District, which is completely under Taliban control, a member of the Kunduz provincial council told the Times.
Two other Americans have been killed in Afghanistan this year: Army Ranger Sgt. Cameron Meddock and Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Joshua “Zach” Beale.
Both soldiers were killed in January.
Eight U.S. troops have also been wounded in action in Afghanistan this year, according to the Defense Casualty Analysis System.
In 2018, 13 U.S. troops were killed during combat operations in Afghanistan. That is a slight increase from 11 killed in action in 2017.
President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon in December to begin planning to bring home up to 7,000 of the roughly 14,000 U.S. troops currently serving in Afghanistan.
That troop decrease has not yet started, and there is no indication when it will.
An American team has been negotiating peace talks with Taliban officials in Qatar this year.
It is unclear what the final peace agreement will look like, but it could involve a U.S. troop drawdown in exchange for the Taliban’s commitment to never again allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven for international terror groups like al-Qaida.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.