KABUL: Three US troops and a military contractor were killed in a roadside explosion Monday in the deadliest attack on American forces this year, casting a shadow over ongoing peace talks with the Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack.
The blast near Bagram Air Base is the latest to hit American forces amid an ongoing, US-led drive to forge a peace deal in Afghanistan, more than 17 years after the Taliban were ousted, reports AFP.According to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in the country, the troops’ convoy hit a roadside bomb that also wounded three US troops.
Earlier, the Taliban claimed to have conducted the attack when a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle filled with explosives, saying “multiple invaders” had been killed. They added that one armoured personnel carrier had been “completely destroyed”.
Bagram, America’s largest air base in Afghanistan, is located about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Kabul.
The explosion took place around 5:40 pm (1310 GMT), according to Salim Noori, spokesman for police in the province of Parwan, which is home to Bagram.
The car bomb targeted a convoy of coalition soldiers, he told AFP.
Bagram district governor Abdul Shakoor Quddusi said a car bomber attacked an armoured vehicle carrying foreign forces close to a gate to the base.Officials did not immediately release the names of those killed, in line with standard policy pending notification of next of kin, or the nationality of the contractor.
“The wounded service members were evacuated and are receiving medical care,” Resolute Support said in a statement.
Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke tweeted his condolences, saying: “Our thoughts are with the families of the three service members killed today in Afghanistan.”
The blast brings to seven the number of US troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year, compared to 12 killed in all of 2018.
Still, American casualties have fallen dramatically since the end of 2014, when Afghan forces took over from US-led NATO combat troops to secure the country.