The Taliban claimed responsibility for killing an American service member in a roadside bombing Monday in Afghanistan — raising the US death toll in the 18-year-long war to 20 this year.
The US military confirmed the death but did not identify the soldier or offer more details, in accordance with Defense Department guidelines, but the Taliban posted the service member’s identity card and a purported photo of the soldier online.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the American was killed in the northern province of Kunduz, where a joint US-Afghan military force was carrying out a raid.
“Our fighters killed a U.S. force member and injured an Afghan commando,” Mujahid said in a text message that included the photograph.
The US has been conducting peace talks with the Taliban, who control about half of Afghanistan, over the past year even as the group continues to carry out attacks on American troops.
President Trump ended the talks in September after negotiations broke down, but announced they were restarting when he visited US troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal, and we’re meeting with them,” the president said. “We’re saying it has to be a cease-fire, they didn’t want to do a cease-fire, but now they do want to do a cease-fire, I believe.”
As part of the negotiations, the US wants the insurgent group to guarantee that it would not allow any terrorist group to use Afghanistan as a base for its operations.
The Taliban also said they were behind the killing of two US service members when their helicopter crashed in Logar province last month, saying it downed the chopper.
US military officials dismissed the claim as false.