- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Taliban claimed another American life in a suicide car bombing in Kabul on Thursday, military officials said, the fourth U.S. death over just the past two weeks even as the Trump administration forges ahead with peace talks.

The latest attack in Kabul — near the U.S. embassy — also took the lives of a Romanian soldier and at least 10 civilians. The string of attacks threatens to undermine fragile peace talks between Washington and the Taliban, which U.S. officials saying this week they’ve reached the framework of a broad agreement to end the longest war in American history.

But Afghan officials say that brokering peace even as the Taliban kills American military personnel and civilians is a grave mistake.

“Peace with a group that is still killing innocent people is meaningless,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said.

The U.S.-led NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan confirmed the deaths Thursday morning. The U.S. service member has not yet been identified.



“The second service member was from the United States,” the NATO mission said in a statement. “In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the name of the service member killed in action is being withheld until 24 hours after family notification is complete.”

It’s the fourth American to die in Afghanistan over the past two weeks. The Taliban this week made clear that it sees the continued violence as a way to gain more leverage in talks with the U.S.

The administration’s Afghan envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, has said the two sides have reached an agreement in principle that would see the U.S. pull about 5,400 of its 14,000 troops out of Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban promises that the country will never again be used as a base for terrorist operations.

But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top officials reportedly oppose the agreement as currently written.

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