Two American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission confirmed.
The latest deaths bring the tally of US soldiers’ deaths in Afghanistan to at least six in 2019 and a total of at least 65 US military deaths since January 2015, according to US government and NATO reports.
The two U.S. service members were killed in a Taliban attack in Sayedabad district of Wardak. An official statement was released by Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
The names of slain U.S. troopers are being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin are notified, Resolute Support’s statement said.
The killings occurred a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a quick visit to the Afghan capital of Kabul where he said Washington was hopeful of a peace deal before Sept. 1.
“I hope we have a peace deal before September 1st. That’s certainly our mission,” he said.
In his visit to Kabul, Pompeo held talks with Afghan leaders. He said that in his meetings with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, they agreed that peace is their highest priority and that Afghanistan must never serve as a platform for international terrorism.
He said that the US is ready to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan but added that the US has not provided the Taliban with the timeline.
He said the United States has not forgotten Afghanistan.
UPDATE – June 27:
Pentagon released information on the two U.S. service members who were killed in clashes with Taliban. However, according to Pentagon, they were killed in Uruzgan, and not Wardak as was claimed by the Taliban.
The two slain U.S. service members have been identified as Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, 32, and Sgt. James Johnston, 24, killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, June 25, by enemy gunfire during combat operations, according to Pentagon.
Sgt. Micheal B. Riley was a Special Forces communications sergeant and Sgt. James Johnston was an EOD specialist.