Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Three US soldiers, contractor killed in Afghanistan

Rahmat Gul / AP

KABUL: An attack outside Kabul, Afghanistan, has killed three US service members and one American contractor, according to the US military.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack. US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Army Col. David Butler told VOA a vehicle-borne bomb exploded near a convoy on a security patrol near Bagram Air Base, the largest US military base in the country. The base is about 50 kilometers north of Kabul.

The US military medically evacuated three other US service members who were wounded in the attack. Butler said the three troops are now in stable condition. The spokesman for the Islamist insurgent group, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the massive explosion “killed and injured 10 American invaders.” He added that three Afghan security personnel, including an important commander, were also among the dead. Taliban claims are often inflated for such attacks.

About 14,000 US troops are supporting Afghan forces and conducting counterterror operations in Afghanistan. The attack comes as US representatives are working to negotiate a settlement with the Taliban to bring an end to America’s longest war. US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said he had reached two “draft agreements” with Taliban representatives in Qatar last month. To date, seven US service members have been killed in Afghanistan this year.  Meantime, an Afghan district police chief told Xinhua that the blast was caused by a suicide car bomb explosion that also killed the attacker and injured five civilian passers-by in Pul-e-Bariyk Ab area of Bagram district, Parwan province. “The incident occurred roughly at 5:45 p.m. local time Monday. The injured civilians were shifted to a nearby hospital in Bagram,” Major Naqib Kohistani told Xinhua, adding that the foreign forces’ unit was traveling back to Bagram Airbase after a routine patrolling before the incident. Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, claimed that an insurgent group’s suicide bomber named Nasibullah Illyas has launched the attack and two US military vehicles were also destroyed in the massive explosion. The Bagram Airfield, some 50 km north of Afghan capital of Kabul, has been serving as a main U.S. and NATO military base in Afghanistan over the past 18 years. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the attack.

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