The Taliban militant group has carried out a bomb attack against an American convoy in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz Province, killing a US soldier, only weeks after the two sides restarted stalled peace negotiations.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AFP that the militants “blew up an American vehicle in Char Dara district of Kunduz” overnight on Sunday.
“Several” other US troops and Afghan forces were also injured in the attack, Mujahid claimed.
The US military also confirmed in a statement that an American service member had been “killed in action,” without elaborating on the conditions of his death and his identity.
Reuters said the Taliban had posted photographs of a blood-soaked backpack and the identity card of a US soldier to prove he was killed.
The attack is likely to affect the Taliban-US talks, which resumed in Doha, Qatar, early in December. The renewed discussions were put on a “pause” for a few days following yet another bomb attack targeting Bagram Air Base north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, but later started again.
In September, the peace process in Doha came to a halt, with US President Donald Trump declaring the talks with Taliban “dead” after the militant group killed a US soldier in a Kabul bombing.
Back then, the two sides were close to agreeing the initial version of a deal, which would see the United States pull thousands of its troops of Afghanistan in return for Taliban security guarantees.
Monday’s attack comes a day after preliminary results of Afghanistan’s presidential elections showed incumbent President Ashraf Ghani was on track to secure a second term.
The Taliban have long viewed Ghani as a US puppet and have thus refused to negotiate with his government.
Taking the latest death into account, at least 20 American troops have so far been killed in Afghanistan this year, making 2019 the deadliest for US forces since 2014, when the Pentagon announced the “end of combat operations” in Afghanistan.
The negotiations take place almost 18 years after the US invaded Afghanistan and overthrew a ruling Taliban regime. Having failed to end Taliban’s militancy, American forces have since remained bogged down in Afghanistan through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now, Trump.
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