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Two U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan

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(File photo/THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Two U.S. Army soldiers were killed Thursday in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange, 30, of Hickman, Nebraska, and Pfc. Keith M. Williams, 19, of Visalia, California, were killed by an IED in Mirugol Kalay in Kandahar Province, the DOD said.

Also on Thursday, Pfc. Donnell A. Hamilton, 20, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, died at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, from an illness sustained in Ghanzi Province in Afghanistan.

With combat operations in Afghanistan ending this year, President Barack Obama announced he plans for almost 10,000 American troops to remain in the country in 2015 if the Afghan government signs a security agreement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently brokered an agreement between the nation’s two presidential candidates — Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani — to accept the outcome of an audit of the recent election. Preliminary results from the June runoff showed Ghani in the lead, but Abdullah alleged massive election fraud.

The inauguration of the new president, originally scheduled for the first week of August, will be postponed while the votes are recounted.

Violence still flares. On July 15, a car bomb exploded in a busy market in eastern Afghanistan, killing more than 40 people, officials said, in what is said to be the deadliest attack in the country this year.

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