Taliban kills 2 U.S. soldiers in IED attack

The Taliban claimed responsibility for an IED attack in the southern province of Kandahar earlier today that killed two U.S. soldiers

“At 7:00 am local time today, an invaders tank was blown apart by a landmine blast in Karo Sheola area to west of Kandahar airbase in Dand district, leaving all invaders killed and wounded,” the Taliban said in a statement released on its official website, Voice of Jihad. The “tank” likely was a HUMVEE or other up armored vehicle.

Resolute Support, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, confirmed that two soldiers were killed and two more were wounded in the blast. The names of the soldiers were not disclosed.

The Taliban attack takes place as the U.S. government, led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad are seeking to ink an agreement with the Taliban that will facilitate withdrawal from the country. Negotiations with the Taliban were restarted late last year after President Trump canceled a previous round of talks in September after the Taliban killed another U.S. soldier in a similar IED attack outside of Kabul.

Khalilzad has pushed for a deal with the Taliban despite the group’s refusal to negotiate with the Afghan government or call for a cease fire. In late December 2019, press reports surfaced that the Taliban would declare a cease fire, however the group’s official spokesman denied this, calling the reports “false and baseless.”

The Taliban has publicly stated its goals of the so-called “peace talks” is the complete withdrawal of US forces and the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the official name of the Taliban’s government.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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