BFF-56 Three US soldiers killed in Afghanistan: NATO

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Three US soldiers killed in Afghanistan: NATO

KABUL, Nov 27, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Three US soldiers were killed and three
wounded by a bomb in Afghanistan Tuesday, NATO said, taking the number of
American service personnel to die in the war-torn country this year to 12.

NATO’s Resolute Support mission would not immediately release any details
about the soldiers, but said they had been killed when an improvised
explosive device (IED) detonated near Ghazni city in central Afghanistan.

An American contractor was also wounded, it said, adding that the four
injured in the blast were receiving medical care.

The casualties come just days after another US soldier was killed in
Afghanistan’s Nimroz province on Saturday.

An initial review showed the soldier was “likely accidentally shot by our
Afghan partner force”, a NATO statement said Tuesday, adding that the
“tragic” incident occurred as they engaged in a battle with al Qaeda
militants.

“There are no indications he was shot intentionally,” the statement added,
naming the soldier as Sgt Jasso without giving a first name.

General Scott Miller, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said
Jasso was killed “defending our nation, fighting al Qaeda alongside our
Afghan partners”.

Jasso’s death follows a spate of so-called “insider attacks” that have
rattled foreign troops tasked with training and assisting Afghanistan’s
military.

More than 2,200 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the
2001 US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban regime from power.

The number of American casualties has fallen dramatically since the end of
2014 when Afghan forces took over from US-led NATO combat troops to secure
the country.

Since the start of 2015, 58 Americans have been killed, President Ashraf
Ghani said earlier this month.

In the same time period, nearly 30,000 Afghan police and soldiers have
died, Ghani said — a figure much higher than any previously acknowledged.

The shocking mortality rate, which some experts warn is unsustainable, has
sent already shaky morale to new lows.

The Taliban have intensified attacks on Afghan forces even as the United
States ratchets up efforts to engage the militants in peace talks.

Washington is trying to find a way out of the conflict more than 17 years
since it began.

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is spearheading efforts to strike a peace deal
with the Taliban before Afghanistan’s presidential election, scheduled for
April next year though officials have said it could be postponed until July.

A Taliban delegation met with Khalilzad in Doha in October and November to
discuss ending the Afghan conflict. Khalilzad has said he is “cautiously
optimistic” for an end to the conflict.

BSS/AFP/RY/1944 hrs