Two More US Troops Die in Afghanistan in Deadliest Year Since 2014

The deaths bring to at least 14 the number of members of the US military to be killed in action in Afghanistan this year

The deaths bring to at least 14 the number of members of the US military to be killed in action in Afghanistan this year

The disclosure came in a context of ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said two United States military personnel were killed Wednesday, blasts rocked Jalalabad Monday, and the death toll from a weekend wedding bombing reached 80.

Now, the US and Taliban are in negotiations on an end to almost 18 years of fighting in America's longest war.

The Taliban official said the head of the group's political office, Mullah Baradar, had offered a 14-month timeframe for withdrawal, but no final decision had yet been taken and the issue of a timeframe was still under discussion. Some in Afghanistan fear that Taliban fighters who reject a deal with the US could migrate to other militant groups such as the brutal local affiliate of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Kabul wedding over the weekend that killed at least 80 people.

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About 20,000 foreign troops, majority American, are now in Afghanistan as part of a US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.

"Khalilzad will inform the top Afghan leaders about the peace deal and then finalise a declaration to end the war in Afghanistan", the US official said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier this week he said USA forces have been stuck there acting like a "police force".

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While the US hopes to keep some military presence in Afghanistan, the Taliban have pushed for a total withdrawal.

Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a senior member of the Afghan High Peace Council, told Arab News that the Taliban and the USA were closer than ever to a deal but the United States desire to keep intelligence agents in Afghanistan was a major hurdle.

Afghanistan was the world's deadliest conflict in 2018, and the United Nations has said more civilians died there a year ago than in the past decade. Finalizing those details - how many US troops in what role must leave by when - has been at the heart of USA talks with the Taliban. Ghani, who seeks a second term, has insisted the vote must take place to give the government a strong mandate to deal with the Taliban.

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