Jan 11, 2020

Two U.S. service members killed in roadside explosion in Afghanistan

President Trump with American soldiers in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving 2019. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a roadside bomb that killed two U.S. service members and wounded two others on Saturday in southern Afghanistan, AP reports, citing a statement from the U.S. military and Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman.

Why it matters: More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion following the Sept. 11 attacks, AP writes. 23 U.S. soldiers died in 2019, making it the deadliest year for American service members since the U.S. amid attempted peace talks with the Taliban. The group now holds power over nearly half of Afghanistan.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump may reduce troops in Afghanistan without Taliban deal

Taliban leaders during peace talks with the U.S. in July in Qatar. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images.

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien told Axios in an exclusive interview that "it is possible" Trump will cut a deal with the Taliban this year but that even if a deal can't be struck, the president is still poised to reduce troops in Afghanistan.

Driving the news: "We're back in a situation where we're in talks with the Taliban," O'Brien said. "The Afghan forces are doing better, and I think we'll be in a position at some point soon, whether it's with a deal or without a deal, to reduce our military footprint in Afghanistan."

Go deeperArrowJan 12, 2020

Inside Trump's improbable Middle East deals

Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of the hallmarks of President Trump's foreign policy has been his insistence that he can cut the deals that have eluded his predecessors: a durable peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and a deal that would not only stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb but would also stop Iran from projecting force across the Middle East.

But, but, but: On the Middle East peace plan, which Israeli officials believe could be announced before the Israeli elections in March, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien tells Axios said the Trump administration is under "no illusions" that "this will be an easy process."

Go deeperArrowJan 12, 2020

Pentagon: 50 U.S. troops diagnosed with brain injuries from Iran attack

Damage on Jan 13. sustained in Iran's attack of Ain al-Asad military air base, which houses U.S. troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Pentagon revised the number of U.S. service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) following Iran's Jan 7. attack on U.S. bases in Iraq to 50 on Tuesday.

The big picture: This is the third time the Pentagon has updated the figures for those injured in the attack. Per the CDC, TBIs are not always detected immediately after they've been sustained.

Go deeperArrowJan 29, 2020