17th US ser­vice mem­ber killed this year in Afghanista­n

The Morning Call - - OBITUARIES | NATION & WORLD - By Rahim Faiez

KABUL, Afghanista­n — A U.S. ser­vice mem­ber was killed in ac­tion in Afghanista­n on Mon­day, NATO said, with­out pro­vid­ing fur­ther de­tails.

Last week, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump abruptly called off talks with the Tal­iban to end Amer­ica’s long­est war, cit­ing the killing of a U.S. ser­vice mem­ber in a Tal­iban at­tack days ear­lier.

Mon­day’s death was the 17th U.S. com­bat death in Afghanista­n this year, ac­cord­ing to the Pen­tagon’s count. There also have been three non­com­bat deaths this year. More than 2,400 Amer­i­cans have died in the nearly 18-year war.

Across Afghanista­n, mil­i­tant at­tacks and more vi­o­lence killed at least seven peo­ple as the coun­try pre­pares for pres­i­den­tial elec­tions later this month, Afghan of­fi­cials said.

At least five civil­ians, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren, were killed when their ve­hi­cle struck a road­side bomb in western Farah prov­ince on Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to Mo­hibul­lah Mo­hib, spokesman for the pro­vin­cial po­lice.

No one claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the bomb­ing, which oc­curred near the city of Farah, the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, but the Tal­iban are ac­tive in the prov­ince.

Ear­lier this month, the Tal­iban launched an at­tempt to take the city of Farah, briefly seiz­ing an army re­cruit­ment cen­ter and set­ting it on fire. Airstrikes were called in and the Tal­iban were even­tu­ally forced out of the city.

Sep­a­rately, a mag­netic ex­plo­sive de­vice at­tached to a mini bus be­long­ing to a univer­sity in Ghazni prov­ince ex­ploded and killed the bus driver. A spokesman for the pro­vin­cial gover­nor said five Ghazni Univer­sity stu­dents were also wounded in the blast.

In east­ern Logar prov­ince, a school­girl died in the cross­fire dur­ing a bat­tle in the Mo­ham­mad Agha dis­trict be­tween the Tal­iban and the se­cu­rity forces, the po­lice said.

Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani can­celed his first elec­toral de­bate with his main elec­toral ri­val, Ab­dul­lah Ab­dul­lah, the coun­try’s chief ex­ec­u­tive. Both men are part­ners in the na­tional unity gov­ern­ment.

Ghani’s elec­toral team, in a state­ment re­leased just be­fore the start of the de­bate, claimed Ab­dul­lah has no po­lit­i­cal pro­gram and that Ghani did not want to de­bate him.

Ab­dul­lah, who was present at the TV stu­dio where the de­bate was to be held, said Ghani “should have come and shared his plans.”

Around 100,000 mem­bers of the coun­try’s se­cu­rity forces will pro­vide se­cu­rity on elec­tion day, Sept. 28. Around 72,000 se­cu­rity per­son­nel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling cen­ters across Afghanista­n while nearly 30,000 ad­di­tional troops will serve as re­serve units.

Ap­prox­i­mately 20,000 Amer­i­can and al­lied troops re­main in Afghanista­n.

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