Two U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province

A map showing the Afghan city of Kunduz. Google Maps via NBC
A map showing the Afghan city of Kunduz. Google Maps via NBC

KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN (NBC) — Two U.S. service members were killed and two others wounded after they came under fire in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province on Thursday, American officials said.

The victims were on a “train, advise, assist” mission with Afghan forces to “clear a Taliban position and disrupt the group’s operations,” according to the U.S. military.

None of the victims were identified because all their families have not yet been notified.

“Today’s loss is heartbreaking and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of our service members who lost their lives today,”said Gen. John W. Nicholson, the U.S. commander in the country. “Despite today’s tragic event, we are steadfast in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation.”

The attack happened in the district which houses the city of Kunduz, the capital of its namesake province where U.S.-backed Afghan forces have been involved in fierce battles with a resurgent Taliban.

The city was briefly captured by the Taliban in late 2015. During the fightback, a U.S. AC-130 gunship mistakenly bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital and killed at least 42 people, including at least 14 staff and 24 patients.

The Taliban fighters were eventually pushed out, but attacked the city again last month and occupied several neighborhoods during intense fighting. Afghan forces said they fought back to regain control of the city.

Despite President Barack Obama declaring the Afghan combat mission over in 2014, American warplanes have carried out more than 700 airstrikes on the country this year — far surpassing the 500 of last year — according to Reuters. Nearly 9,000 U.S. troops remain in the country.