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Two U.S. soldiers were killed and two wounded when the army vehicle they were traveling in struck a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the NATO press office said in a statement.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the January 11 attack, saying it occurred in the southern Kandahar Province, where U.S. and Romanian forces are stationed. NATO confirmed the incident took place in Kandahar.

The U.S. soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. They are the first U.S. military members to be killed in Afghanistan in 2020.

Last year, 20 U.S. service members died in combat-related incidents in the war-torn country.

The U.S. Department of Defense will not release the names of the soldiers killed until 24 hours after their relatives have been notified.

There are currently around 12,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, down from a peak of roughly 100,000 in 2011.

Of those, almost 8,000 are participating in NATO’s Resolute Support training and assistance mission — making up close to half its overall contingent.

Civilians have also been victims of attacks by the Taliban.

The Afghan Interior Ministry reported on January 3 that 2,219 civilians were killed and 5,172 were wounded by Taliban militants last year.

“Taliban fighters often carry out terrorist assaults on civilian populations,” Marwa Amini, a spokeswoman for the ministry said at the time, adding that killing civilians is “tantamount to a war crime.”

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.