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By Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Lucas Tomlinson | Fox News
A U.S. service member died early Saturday morning while deployed in Afghanistan, military officials said.
The NATO-led Resolute Support mission gave no further details and withheld identifying the service member, pending notification to next of kin.
This death marks the 10th U.S. service member to be killed in combat in Afghanistan this year. It comes following seven rounds of U.S.-led peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar.
In a telephone interview, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told the Associated Press that the militant group was behind Saturday’s killing. He said two U.S. service personnel were killed when Taliban militants attacked a tank in Sayed Abad district of central Wardak province, some 40 miles south of Kabul. The discrepancy between the number of fatalities given by the U.S. and the Taliban could not be immediately explained, but the Taliban often exaggerate their claims.
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The current conflict began in 2001 with the U.S.-led invasion to unseat the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. After nearly 18 years, it is America’s longest war, in which over 2,400 American service members have died.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he wants to see a deal worked out by September 1.
On Thursday, President Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. military’s next top officer said it would be a “strategic mistake” for U.S. troops to pull out of the Middle East country prematurely. Currently, there are about 14,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan, down from a high of 100,000 in 2011.
“I think it is slow, it’s painful, it’s hard – I spent a lot of my life in Afghanistan – but I also think it’s necessary,” Army Gen. Mark Milley said at this confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Trump recently told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that he wanted to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, but said he understood the risks of doing so, calling the country the “Harvard of terrorists.” The president indicated he would be open to leaving some “intelligence” forces behind if a deal can be reached with the Taliban.
Before resigning in December, then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Bret Baier at the Reagan Library in California if the U.S. pulled its forces from Afghanistan there would be more terrorist attacks against the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter & Editor for FoxNews.com.