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Two US service members killed in Afghanistan

UPDATE (June 27):  The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Both soldiers di...
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UPDATE (June 27):  The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Both soldiers died June 25, 2019, in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan as a result of wounds sustained from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations. The incident is under investigation.

The deceased are:

  • Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, 32, of Heilbronn, Germany. Riley was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, Colorado.
  • Sgt. James G. Johnston, 24, of Trumansburg, New York. Johnston was assigned to 79th Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 71st Ordnance Group, Fort Hood, Texas.

PREVIOUSLY: Two United States service members were killed in Afghanistan on June 26, the US military announced Tuesday.

The US has had a military presence in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001, during which time more than 2,000 US military personnel have been killed.

The new fatalities came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced there had been “real progress” in Afghan peace talks with the Taliban, during an unannounced visit to the country on Tuesday.

Pompeo told reporters that the US government was prepared to remove American troops from the country.

“We’ve made clear to the Taliban that we’re prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear, we’ve not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” he said Tuesday.

Officials have previously told CNN that the Trump administration has instructed the US military to begin drawing up plans for a substantial drawdown of US personnel in Afghanistan.

The two deaths bring the total number of US service members killed in Afghanistan in 2019 to nine.

Overall, the US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, where they primarily advise Afghan forces who are battling the Taliban.