Two American service members were killed during an operation in Afghanistan on Friday, US and NATO forces said, providing no other details on the combat deaths. The fatalities, which bring to four the number of US soldiers killed so far this year in Afghanistan, underscore the difficulties in bringing peace to the war-wrecked country even as Washington has stepped up efforts to find a way to end the 17-year war, America's longest. The US and NATO Resolute Support mission said the names of the service members killed in action are being withheld until after notification of the next of kin, in accordance with US Department of Defense policy, the AP reports.
The statement also did not specify the location of the combat or say who the soldiers were fighting. "The incident is under investigation and we have no additional information to provide," said Sgt. 1st Class Debra Richardson, a Resolute Support spokeswoman. There are about 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan, supporting embattled Afghan forces as they struggle on two fronts—facing a resurgent Taliban that now holds sway over almost half the country and also the ISIS affiliate, which has sought to expand its footprint in Afghanistan even as its self-proclaimed "caliphate" has crumbled in Syria and Iraq. (Last year, a Utah mayor was killed in a Kabul attack.)