Secretary of State Pompeo Travels to Afghanistan, Calls for Peace Talks

A U.S. service member was killed and two others were wounded in an “apparent insider attack” in southern Afghanistan

Insider attacks have taken place every year since 2008 and the Afghan province of Helmand, a Taliban stronghold to the south and center of the country's opium-growing industry, has seen the most attacks.

An earlier statement from NATO Resolute Support Mission said the incident was under investigation and that the injured service members were in stable condition.

"Our prayers are with his family and friends during this hard time", Conner said in the statement.

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Maciel's honors include the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon, the Columbus, Ga., newspaper site says.

He urged both groups to come to the negotiating table, adding, the USA would be willing to help facilitate the discussions.

The ambush occurred in southern Afghanistan, U.S. military officials said in a statement without being more specific.

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Last year, the United States added thousands of additional troops to its forces in Afghanistan, which are engaged in both training and advising Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorist missions against Daesh and other militant groups.

The last insider attack occurred in August 2017.

During a press conference with Pompeo and Gani, Pompeo said the Trump administration's strategy of sending more US troops into Afghanistan to push the Taliban toward negotiations is "indeed working".

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Following a three-day ceasefire during last month's Eid holiday, the Taliban, fighting to restore their version of strict Islamic law, have so far rejected Ghani's offer of talks, demanding the withdrawal of worldwide troops from Afghanistan. "The Taliban have gained ground, USA airstrikes have spiked to put pressure on the group to negotiate, and civilian casualties have increased - partly due to those airstrikes but mostly because of Taliban attacks, and some ISIS attacks".

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