US soldiers killed as Taliban talks resume

The combat deaths of two US soldiers have come just ahead of talks between the Taliban and US.
The combat deaths of two US soldiers have come just ahead of talks between the Taliban and US.

The US Army's Special Operations Command has released the names of two Green Berets killed during combat operations in Afghanistan, just as the US resumed talks with the Taliban.

Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa and Jose J. Gonzalez, died as a result of small arms fire in northern Faryab Province. Both were members of 7th Special Forces Group, which is based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The deaths came as US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad resumed negotiations with the Taliban aimed at ending America's longest war.

There have been eight previous rounds of negotiations over the past year, and key issues include the withdrawal of American troops, a ceasefire, intra-Afghan talks, and Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not once again become a launch pad for global terror attacks.

The US and NATO ended combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014, but about 14,000 US troops remain to train and advise Afghan forces and to conduct counterterror operations against insurgents.

Australian Associated Press