2 Green Berets killed in combat in Afghanistan identified
The military released the names of the two Green Berets who were killed Wednesday during combat supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan.
Master Sgt. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, died as a result of small arms fire in northern Faryab Province, the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command told Fox News.
Both were members of 7th Special Forces Group, based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
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Deleon-Figueroa was from Chicopee, Mass., and served in the Army for more than 13 years. He became a Green Beret in 2014 and was deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to South America.
Gonzalez, a native of La Puente, Calif., joined 7th Group in 2014. He was posthumously promoted to Master Sergeant. His family requested that no photo or additional information be released.
"It was an honor having them serve within the ranks of 7th SFG (A). They were a part of our Family, and will not be forgotten," said Col. John W. Sannes, 7th SFG (A) commander in a statement to Fox News.
"Our Priority is to now provide the best possible care to the Families of our fallen warriors" added Sannes. "We ask that you keep their Families and teammates in your thoughts and prayers."
The deaths came as U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad resumed negotiations with the Taliban aimed at ending America’s longest war. There have been eight previous rounds of negotiations over the past year, and key issues include the withdrawal of American troops, a cease-fire, intra-Afghan talks, and Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not once again become a launch pad for global terror attacks.
There are still about 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and persistent attacks by both the Taliban and the Islamic State group affiliate continue to plague the country. The U.S. and NATO ended combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014, but troops remain to train and advise Afghan forces and to conduct counterterror operations against insurgents.
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The two deaths bring the number of American military fatalities in Afghanistan this year to 14, exceeding the 2018 total.
More than 2,400 U.S. service personnel have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 to topple the Taliban, whose government had harbored Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin, Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.