An American service member has been killed in combat in Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed it was behind a roadside bombing in northern Kunduz province that killed the US soldier.

The latest fatality brings the number of American deaths in Afghanistan this year to 20.

There have also been three non-combat deaths in 2019. More than 2,400 Americans have died in the near 18-year conflict.

The Taliban now controls or holds sway over practically half of Afghanistan but continues to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and US forces, as well as government officials.

The attacks come even as the group holds peace talks with a US envoy tasked with negotiating an end to what has become America's longest war.

Scores of Afghan civilians are also killed in the crossfire or by roadside bombs planted by militants.

The US military did not identify the US soldier or say where in Afghanistan the service member was killed, pending notification of the family.

Last month, two US service members were killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter crashed in eastern Logar province.

The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that crash, saying they had downed the helicopter, causing many fatalities. The US military dismissed the Taliban claim as false.

The Taliban said the US soldier was killed in the Chardara district in northern Kunduz province where US and Afghan forces were carrying out a joint raid. A spokesman said the insurgents had planted the roadside bomb that killed the service member.

Washington's peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been trying to hammer out a peace agreement with the Taliban for over a year.

The US wants the deal to include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not used as a base by any terrorist group.

Earlier this month, Mr Khalilzad met with Taliban representatives in Qatar, where the insurgents maintain a political office, as the talks between the two sides resumed after a three-month halt by US president Donald Trump following a particularly deadly wave of Taliban attacks, including a Kabul suicide bombing that killed an American soldier.

The Qatar meeting focused on getting a Taliban promise to reduce violence, with a permanent ceasefire being the eventual goal.

Mr Khalilzad is trying to lay the groundwork for negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the protracted conflict but the Taliban refuse to talk directly with the Kabul government.

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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