US deaths in Afghanistan set to pass 2018 mark, be highest in...

US deaths in Afghanistan set to pass 2018 mark, be highest in 4 years

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Sgt. Cory Castillo, a Cavalry Scout assigned to the 1-108th Cavalry Regiment of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, provides security during a key leader engagement in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, earlier this year. (Sgt. Jordan Trent/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — A U.S. service personnel was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, pushing the number of those killed in action this year to the same total as 2018.

The upswing continues a pattern started in 2017 after yearly declines since 2010 in the number of U.S. personnel killed in the now 18-year war.

Per Pentagon policy, the name of the service member and details of the incident are being withheld until 24 hours after family notification is complete. The Special Forces soldier was reportedly wounded in a firefight in Wardak province, Pentagon officials said.

Data shows that 2,433 U.S. military personnel were killed in Afghanistan through hostile actions since U.S. forces first arrived in the country on Oct. 7, 2001.

There are about 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Yearly totals for those killed in action in previous years are 17 in 2018; 15 in 2017; 14 in 2016; 22 in 2015, and 55 in 2014. The high mark was 499 in 2010.

Today’s death is the first since President Donald Trump jettisoned a planned peace conference on Afghanistan that was to have occurred a week ago at Camp David with representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government.

When that meeting was cancelled, the Taliban said more U.S. troops would die in increased fighting.

The death comes after several Afghanistan developments over the weekend.

They include, according to news reports, Moscow officials meeting Sunday with a Taliban delegation in Russia to discuss the possibility of a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; the Trump administration confirming that a U.S. military strike earlier this year killed Hamza bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s 30-year-old son and heir apparent future leader of al-Qaeda; and joint US-Afghan airstrikes on Sunday that killed two senior Taliban officials and nearly 40 other members of the terrorist group.

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