Pentagon Identifies Soldier Killed By Roadside Bomb In Afghanistan

The Pentagon has identified a 33-year-old soldier from New Jersey as the U.S. victim in a fatal roadside bombing in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz Province.

The U.S. military on December 23 said Sergeant 1st Class Michael Goble of Washington Township died in the blast that has been claimed by the Taliban militant group.

Goble's unit was engaged in combat operations in Kunduz, when he suffered fatal injuries, the Pentagon said. No further details were provided.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said they killed “a U.S. force member and injured an Afghan commando” in Kunduz.

Goble's death was the 20th by a U.S. service member this year in Afghanistan. More than 2,400 Americans have died in the nearly 18-year conflict.

Taliban militants continue to carry out attacks targeting Afghan and U.S. troops even as they hold peace talks with a U.S. envoy attempting to end America's longest war.

Hundreds of Afghan civilians have also been killed in the crossfire or by militant bombs.

Some 20,000 foreign troops -- 12,000 to 14,000 from the United States -- are in Afghanistan as part of a U.S.-led NATO mission to train, assist, and advise local troops.

U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to end the conflict and pull U.S. troops out of the country to fulfill a campaign promise he made in 2016.

U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has met with Taliban leaders in Qatar and, at times, has appeared close to reaching a cease-fire deal with the extremist group.

However, Trump in September canceled a secret meeting in the United States that was to include Taliban leaders after the militant group carried out a car bombing in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a U.S. soldier.

Negotiators from both sides have since resumed talking, but no further progress has been reported.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters