Two US soldiers killed by Afghanistan roadside bomb

The US-Taliban talks were aimed at allowing Washington to begin withdrawing troops in return for various security guarantees (AFP Photo/THOMAS WATKINS)

Kandahar (Afghanistan) (AFP) - Two American soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan on Saturday when a Taliban roadside bomb ripped through an army vehicle, officials said.

Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack in Kandahar province, according to NATO's Resolute Support mission in the country.

A mission spokesman said the names of those killed were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The troops were on patrol near Kandahar airport in Dand district, provincial police spokesman Jamal Nasir Barkzai told AFP.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying on Twitter that the blast destroyed the vehicle and killed all on board.

Violence in Afghanistan usually recedes as winter sets in. But this year the Taliban have pushed forward with their operations despite heavy snowfall in the mountains -- and despite their negotiations with the US for a deal that would see American troops leave the country.

According to details made public so far, the Pentagon would withdraw about 5,000 of its 13,000 or so troops from five bases across Afghanistan, provided the Taliban sticks to its security pledges.

The insurgents have said they will renounce Al-Qaeda, fight the Islamic State group and stop jihadists using Afghanistan as a safe haven.

Last year was the deadliest for US forces in Afghanistan since combat operations officially finished at the end of 2014, highlighting the challenging security situation that persists.

More than 2,400 US troops have been killed in combat there since the US-led invasion in October 2001.