USA soldier is killed in Afghanistan; Taliban claim attack


American service member killed in action in Afghanistan

His death brings the number of USA soldiers killed this year in combat to 20.

He was a senior intelligence sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, who died while serving in Afghanistan on December 23 due to injuries sustained during combat operations.

The remains of Sgt. 1st Class Michael James Goble were returned to the United States on Christmas Day after he died from injuries sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan on Monday.

The Taliban now controls or holds sway over practically half of Afghanistan but continues to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and U.S. forces, as well as government officials.

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Last month, two USA service members were killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter crashed in eastern Logar province.

U.S. troops have been engaged in military operations in Afghanistan for 18 whole years since the tragic 9/11 attack, but with little success, having failed to either defeat the Taliban or establish peace in the country by any other means.

Goble enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 18 as a Special Forces candidate and earned a Green Beret three years later.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in Balkh province, the ministry statement said.

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The plaintiffs include family members of U.S. Army Sergeant Andrew Looney, who was killed when a suicide bomber attacked the checkpoint he was manning in June 2010.

A Taliban official familiar with the on-again, off-again talks taking place in Qatar, confirmed to AP that the release of around 5,000 prisoners of Taliban has been written in to the agreement which is under discussion.

A key pillar of the agreement, which the U.S. and Taliban have been hammering out for more than a year, is direct negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the conflict.

Washington is trying to secure a peace deal that would allow US President Donald Trump to end the longest war in the nation's history, a key promise he made during his election campaign.

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South African telecoms firm MTN on Monday said it was reviewing allegations raised in a U.S. complaint which accuses several firms of paying protection money to extremist groups in Afghanistan. His administration has pushed for ending the war in Afghanistan, where the US now has about 12,000 troops stationed. However, a surge in violence in the capital Kabul killed a US soldier, prompting President Donald Trump to declare the deal "dead".

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