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Two US service members killed in Afghanistan: NATO

File photo: US troops in Afghanistan. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Washington, United States Aug 21, 2019, 11.17 PM (IST)

Two American service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the NATO press office said without elaborating.

The names of the US service members killed in action were being withheld until after their relatives were notified, in accordance with Pentagon policy, it said.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the US military role in Afghanistan has basically turned into a "ridiculous" police force in a sign that he is open to a US troop drawdown there after 18 years of war.

Trump was briefed on Friday by top national security aides on a peace plan being negotiated by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad with leaders of the Afghanistan government and the Taliban.

"We're having good discussions. We'll see what happens. It's 18 years. We're not really fighting. We're almost a police force over there. We're not supposed to be a police force," he said.

Some 14,000 US troops remain engaged in America’s longest war, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations against militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State’s local affiliate.

A pullout has raised fears within the US military and among some lawmakers that Afghanistan could plunge into a new civil war that could see a return of Taliban rule and give al Qaeda and other militants a sanctuary in which to expand and plot new attacks on US and allied targets.

Khalilzad was travelling on Tuesday to resume talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, "as part of an overall effort to facilitate a peace process that ends the conflict in Afghanistan," the State Department said in a statement. 

Khalilzad will consult with leaders of the Afghan government in Kabul and encourage negotiations between the two sides, it said.