The Taliban launched a new offensive in the west of Afghanistan. Violence is escalating as resistance grows over a U.S. deal with insurgents to withdraw American troops. An American Army sergeant and a Romanian soldier were killed in a Taliban suicide bomb explosion in Kabul, heightening government concerns that a U.S.-brokered peace deal with the insurgents is moving too quickly. Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, died when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle, the Pentagon said in a recent statement.