KABUL, Afghanistan (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 33-year-old American soldier from New Jersey has been was killed in combat in Afghanistan, the U.S. military said. The Taliban claimed they were behind a fatal roadside bombing in northern Kunduz province.

In a statement Monday night, the Pentagon identified the casualty as Sgt. 1st Class Michael James Goble of Washington Township, New Jersey. Goble was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble of Washington Township, New Jersey (Credit: U.S. Department of Defense)

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Goble’s unit was engaged in combat operations in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, when he suffered fatal injuries, the Pentagon said. No other details were provided.

Goble was a native of Westwood, New Jersey — less than 30 miles from New York City — and was just about to celebrate his 34th birthday on Jan. 13, 2020.

Twenty U.S. deaths have been recorded in Afghanistan this year. There have also been three noncombat deaths in 2019. More than 2,400 Americans have died in the nearly 18-year conflict.

“We will honor our brother’s sacrifice and provide the best possible care to his family. We ask that you keep his family and teammates in your thoughts and prayers,” said Col. John W. Sannes, commander of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

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The Taliban now control or hold sway over practically half of Afghanistan but continue to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and U.S. forces, as well as government officials — even as they hold peace talks with a U.S. envoy tasked with negotiating an end to what has become America’s longest war. Scores of Afghan civilians are also killed in the crossfire or by roadside bombs planted by militants.

Last month, two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter crashed in eastern Logar province. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that crash, saying they had downed the helicopter, causing many fatalities. The U.S. military dismissed the Taliban claim as false.

Shortly after the initial U.S. military statement on the latest fatality, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that the U.S. soldier was killed in the Chardara district in northern Kunduz province where U.S. and Afghan forces were carrying out a joint raid. Mujahid said the insurgents had planted roadside bomb that killed the service member. He even tweeted a purported photo ID of the slain U.S. soldier, without saying how it was obtained.

The U.S. military did not comment on the tweet or the Taliban claim.

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