Pentagon identifies 2 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Pentagon identifies soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Copyright 2019 CNN

The Pentagon on Tuesday identified the two US service members killed in Afghanistan earlier this week.

Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer, 20, of Stryker, Ohio, and Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, of Chicago died Monday from combat-related wounds, the Department of Defense said in a news release.

Kandahar police told CNN on Monday that an Afghan soldier had opened fire on the service members. A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousof Ahmadi, also confirmed the incident in a media message, saying the Afghan soldier had been wounded in the exchange of fire.

The American service members were the fourth and fifth to be killed in Afghanistan in a little over a month. The incident is under investigation, the Pentagon said.

In remarks at the Economic Club of Washington, DC, on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump wants to reduce American troop levels in Afghanistan before the 2020 election.

“End the endless wars, draw down, reduce,” Pompeo said. “It won’t just be us.”

Trump drew scrutiny last week after he said the US military could wipe Afghanistan “off the face of the Earth” at his command.

“I have plans on Afghanistan, that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in — literally, in 10 days, and I don’t want to do — I don’t want to go that route,” he said at the time. “If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people.”

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.