US service member killed in Afghanistan – NATO
The identity of the victim has not been immediately disclosed and will be shared after the required military procedures are complete.
More than 2,400 US troops have died in the 17-year war, while the goal to defeat the Taliban, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), and Al-Qaeda is still far from being achieved.
Despite the fact that major combat operations were wrapped up years ago, a US contingent along with allied Western troops are still present in the country with the stated mission “to train and assist local forces.”
However, the Taliban, which operates in vast parts of the country and considers the American presence an “invasion,” has repeatedly said it will not engage in any meaningful peace process until US troops are withdrawn.
“We will not tolerate a single US soldier in Afghanistan,” Sher Mohammad Abbas, the head of the Taliban delegation, said at the international meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow.
That aside, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced last year that more than 3,000 extra troops would be sent to Afghanistan amid deteriorating security.
Shortly after that, a report published by a division of the US Department of Defense revealed that the actual number of troops already on the ground is more than the Pentagon claimed (15,298 instead of the officially announced 14,000). The document forced the military to come clean and admit that figures quoted by US officials on troop deployment abroad are not always accurate.
With all the power of the NATO (and especially US) war machines, the crisis in Afghanistan still requires a political settlement.
“This is not going to be won militarily. This is going to a political solution,” General Austin S. Miller, who recently took leadership of NATO’s Resolute Support mission, said in early November.
It has also been reported that a US representative for Afghanistan met the Taliban twice in several months in an apparent bid to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table.