- James Mackenzie/Reuters
- Two US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan this week as the war closes in on its 17th anniversary.
- In total, four Americans have died from hostile fire in Afghanistan this year as fighting against the Taliban rages on in many parts of the country.
- The US has roughly 14,000 troops in Afghanistan after the Trump administration made the decision to increase the US military’s presence there by several thousand last year.
The longest war in US history often seems to be largely forgotten, even as American soldiers are still fighting and dying in it.
With much of the US public’s focus on issues such as immigration back home, media coverage of the war is quite limited.
In this context, many Americans may not have heard that two US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan this week as the conflict closes in on its 17th anniversary.
A special operations soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, was killed in a combat mission in Afghanistan’s Paktia province on Thursday. Last Saturday, Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel, 20, was killed via what was reportedly an insider attack in southern Afghanistan.
To put things into perspective, Maciel would’ve been a toddler when America’s war in Afghanistan began.
In total, four Americans have died from hostile fire in Afghanistan this year as fighting against the Taliban rages on in many parts of the country. ISIS also poses a threat in Afghanistan and recently claimed a suicide bombing attack that left 19 people dead in the city of Jalalabad.
The US has roughly 14,000 troops in Afghanistan after the Trump administration made the decision to increase the US military’s presence there by several thousand last year.
After the NATO summit in Brussels this week, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he received assurances from President Donald Trump he won’t pull US troops out of the country any time soon, Defense One reports.
NATO leaders also said they’d support funding for the conflict through 2024.
“We, the Heads of State and Government of the nations contributing to the Resolute Support Mission, and the President of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, met today in Brussels to reaffirm our shared commitment to Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability,” the leaders said in a joint statement released Thursday.
The statement added, “The people of Afghanistan demand peace and we are encouraged by the momentum building in that direction. We remain united in our commitment to help Afghanistan attain it.”
Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokesman on Friday reportedly told journalists not to ask questions about Afghanistan or NATO, which seemingly suggests the Department of Defense does not want to discuss its strategy in the country even as US soldiers continue to die in combat during the summer fighting season.
“I’ll be happy to answer those in a different forum,” Army chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley said of questions on Afghanistan and NATO at a Friday press conference.