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Two US service members killed in Afghanistan

Two U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan, NATO’s Resolute Support mission said on Monday, July 29.

The service members were both killed on Monday, Resolute Support said in a statement without providing additional details.

The Department of Defense on Tuesday identified the soldiers as Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer, 20, of Stryker, Ohio and Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, of Chicago, Illinois.

Both were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Kreischer and Stryker “died July 29, 2019, in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained in a combat related incident. The incident is under investigation,” the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon did not comment on reports that the two soldiers were killed in an insider attack.

Mohammad Qasam, a deputy police chief in Kandahar province, said the attack took place at an Afghan army base during a visit by U.S. forces, AFP reported on Tuesday.

“Initial information was two U.S. forces have been killed and one more wounded,” Qasam said.

The service members’ deaths come less than a week after a Croatian soldier with the NATO Afghanistan mission was killed and two others seriously wounded in a Taliban suicide attack in Kabul.

On July 13, Sergeant Major James G. Sartor, a U.S. special forces soldier, was killed by small arms fire during operations in Faryad province in northern Afghanistan.

Afghan and U.S. forces have paid a heavy price fighting the Taliban in Uruzgan in recent months.

In late June, Army Master Sergeant Micheal B. Riley and Sgt. James G. Johnston were killed in Uruzgan Province by small arms fire while engaged in combat operations, the Pentagon said.

Uruzgan province is where another U.S. Special Forces soldier, Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale, was killed in January.

Kreischer and Stryker’s deaths bring to 12 the number of American forces killed in Afghanistan this year, the same number as in all of 2018.

Earlier on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump had directed him to reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

“Draw down. Reduce. It won’t just be us. We hope that overall the need for combat forces in the region is reduced,” Pompeo said at an event in Washington, D.C.

The diplomat’s comments come as the U.S. and Taliban insurgents are in the midst of lengthy talks over a possible peace settlement in Afghanistan after nearly 18 years of war.

This story was updated on July 30 and 31, 2019 with additional information.

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