KABUL, Afghanistan — Two U.S. service members, including a Virginian, were killed and two others injured Saturday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, the Pentagon said in a statement.
Military officials identified the two soldiers killed as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin of Newport News and 21-year-old Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon of Joliet, Ill. Both were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Taliban took responsibility for Saturday’s attack. A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, said it occurred in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.
More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Last year was the deadliest for them since 2014, with 23 American troops killed, even as Washington engaged in peace talks with the Taliban.
The latest attack seemed certain to stall fresh efforts to restart the peace talks between Washington and the Taliban.
Earlier Saturday, both NATO and Afghan officials had confirmed a roadside bomb hit a U.S. Army vehicle, without mentioning casualties. In a short statement, a NATO spokesman said officials were still “assessing the situation and will provide more information as it became available.”
An Afghan official said the attack was in the Dand district of Kandahar. The official was not authorized to speak with media and requested anonymity.
In November, two U.S. service members were killed when their helicopter crashed in Logar province in eastern Afghanistan. The U.S. military at the time said preliminary reports did not indicate it was caused by enemy fire, although the Taliban claimed to have shot down the helicopter — a claim the U.S. military denied.
The U.S. currently has about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan.