Aug 21, 2019

2 U.S. service members die in Afghanistan, bringing 2019 total to 16

2 U.S. service members stationed in Afghanistan were killed Wednesday, per NATO Resolute Support. The names of the service members will be withheld for 24 hours until the next of kin is notified.

Why it matters: The Afghanistan war is America's longest, with 17 years having passed since Operation Enduring Freedom began. The number of service members killed in 2019 now totals 16.

  • Most Americans view the war as a failure, and civil unrest continues in Afghanistan. Earlier this week, a suicide bombing at a wedding in Kabul killed 80 and injured dozens of others. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, per AP.
  • The Islamic State's presence has continued to grow in Afghanistan as the U.S. considers withdrawal.

Go deeper: Lindsey Graham tries to talk Trump out of Afghanistan pullout by 2020

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U.S. service member killed in Afghanistan as Taliban peace talks fizzle

U.S. soldiers walk at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images

An American Special Forces soldier in eastern Afghanistan was killed in action on Monday, bringing the total U.S. service members to die during combat operations to 17 this year, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The death comes one week after the Trump administration called off peace talks with the Taliban after a bombing in Kabul killed a U.S. soldier. The Afghanistan war is America's longest, with almost 18 years having passed since Operation Enduring Freedom began. The White House had wanted to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2020, but the plans have since stalled amid uncertainty over the future of peace talks.

Go deeper: House panel subpoenas U.S. Afghanistan envoy in probe of failed peace talks

Keep ReadingArrowSep 16, 2019

Trump: I called off secret meeting with Taliban in U.S. over Kabul blast

President Trump at the White House, Sept. 4. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's called off a secret meeting with Taliban leaders planned for Sunday at Camp David after a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations."
Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 8, 2019

Islamic State presence grows in Afghanistan as U.S. mulls withdrawal

Afghan security officials inspect the scene after an overnight suicide bomb blast that targeted a wedding reception in Kabul. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The official government line in Afghanistan is that the Islamic State has been defeated — but local leaders tell a different story, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: Talks between the U.S. and the Taliban on removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan have been ongoing for months, while the Islamic State's growing threat has not been addressed.

Go deeperArrowAug 21, 2019