KABUL (Rahnuma): More than 20 including two U.S. soldiers have been killed over the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Kabul, officials said Wednesday.
Pompeo paid an unannounced visit to the Afghan capital on Tuesday on his way to New Delhi. During his brief stay, the U.S. top diplomat held meeting with Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to exchange views on matters pertaining mutual interests including the peace talks with the Taliban.
The seventh round of talks between the U.S. special envoy for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban representatives will be held in Qatar’s capital Doha next week.
Pompeo, according to local media, expressed hopes that Afghanistan will reach a peace deal within the next two months, prior to the Sept. 28 presidential elections in the militancy-battered country.
Meanwhile, Pompeo’s visit coincided with increase in militant attacks in Afghanistan as more than 20 people including two U.S. troops were killed.
A spokesperson for the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan told Xinhua on Wednesday, “I can confirm that two U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.” He didn’t provide more details.
The Taliban said in a statement that the militants ambushed “U.S. forces in Sayed Abad district of Wardak province killing two American soldiers.”
The deadly attack, according to the Taliban sources, took place hours after Pompeo’s visit to Afghanistan.
Taliban attacks have also killed eight policemen in the western Herat province, two police personnel in the eastern Ghazni province and one police constable in the northern Balkh province since Tuesday.
Government forces, in counter-offensive, targeted Taliban hideouts in Argo district of the northern Badakhshan province and have recaptured 15 villages, killed eight insurgents and injured six others over the past two days, an army spokesman in the northern region Ghulam Hazrat Karimi told Xinhua.
According to Karimi, one security personnel was killed and two others injured in the operation in Badakhshan province.