The servicemen were participating in a counterterrorism operation along with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, according to the Defense Department.
Mattis also warned that 2017 would be "another tough year" for Afghan security forces, but would not be drawn on recent calls by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson for "a few thousand" more troops. "On behalf of all USA forces and our coalition partners, I offer our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and fellow service members of our fallen comrades".
Speaking at the Pentagon in December, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson, estimated that his forces had killed about 500 ISIS fighters in 2016, including 12 of the group's most senior leaders. -Afghan operation in a village near Nangahar's Achin district Wednesday but was not aware of any casualties.
"With the so-called fighting season imminent, I appeal to all parties to take every measure possible to prevent unnecessary and unacceptable harm to Afghan civilians", said UNAMA chief, Tadamichi Yamamoto.
"I believe this will be a hard year for Afghan security forces, as they will be facing the resilient Taliban's complex and sophisticated attacks countrywide", he told AFP. They are largely conducting a training, advise and assist mission aimed at supporting Afghan forces.
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Bowman described the complicated situation on the ground in Afghanistan as similar to "two gangs fighting for territory".
The United States has approximately 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. Now, the Taliban don't want ISIS there.
It is believed to be the deadliest by the Taleban on an Afghan military target since they were driven from power in 2001, and marked yet another psychological blow by the resurgent militants. In the email statement, Mujahid also boasted of Taliban's control on more than half of the country.
Apparently foreshadowing the spring offensive, a Taliban attack earlier this week on an army base in northern Afghanistan was among the most devastating ever in the country, killing more than 140 Afghan soldiers. Numerous ISIS fighters were also killed. "But officials say that number has dropped to about 800 with ongoing combat operations".
The attack occurred in the same area where two weeks ago the USA dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on an IS complex.
The Pentagon does not identify service members killed until 24 hours after the next of kin is notified, but Fox News identified them as two U.S. Army soldiers, with one additional soldier "lightly wounded".