A suicide attack in Afghanistan resulted in the death of multiple American soldiers among the 19 killed. The suicide bomber on a motorbike struck a patrol near Bagram air base. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A Taliban suicide bomber attacked a U.S. NATO-Afghan patrol in Afghanistan and killed several soldiers on Monday. The convoy was on patrol close to Bagram Airfield, confirmed a major US military base, reported the Telegraph. Corroborating the attack, Col. Ahmad Khan Ahmadzai, Bagram’s police chief, said the following.
“At around 1pm a joint patrol of Afghan police and US soldiers was hit by the suicide bomber, who drove an explosive-laden motorbike into the foot patrol.”
NATO officials in the capital city of Kabul have launched an investigation into the incident. However, Taliban insurgents have already claimed responsibility for the latest high-profile attack. A few reports indicated earlier that six American soldiers died immediately, while two others were grievously injured.
US official tells me all six NATO troops killed in eastern Afghanistan today were American.— Nancy Youssef, نانسى (@nancyayoussef) December 21, 2015
While earlier reports have indicated that there were six American soldiers among those who died in the suicide attack, International Business Times reports that the number of casualties is far higher. The publication indicates that 15 U.S. troops were killed following the attack. Incidentally, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, and added that 19 soldiers had been killed.
Confirming the deaths, Brig. Gen. William Shoffner, head of public affairs at the Resolute Support base in Kabul, said the following.
“We’re deeply saddened by this loss. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those affected in this tragic incident, especially during this holiday season.”
The police chief of Parwan solemnly added that more details could emerge of the foreign troops casualties in the coming hours. He stated that three members of the Afghan police forces were also wounded in the attack, reported Press TV.
Preliminary reports indicated that the suicide bomber had used an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). However, the IED wasn’t strapped on the body, but loaded on the motorbike. There have been many such attacks recently, wherein small cars, motorbikes, or such other modes of transportation, that are most likely stolen, are used to direct IEDs at military installations. Merely a week ago, a suicide bomber attacked Kandahar airbase. There were other attacks too, most notable being the attack on Spanish embassy guest house in Kabul, reported India.
Incidentally, less than 24 hours earlier, Taliban insurgents had launched an attack on Sangin district center in Helmand. Though 100 British troops died trying to protect the region, Sangin could fall into the hands of the Taliban, reported the Telegraph.
Despite the announcement last year that confirmed America was pulling majority of its forces from Afghanistan, Washington has kept around 9,800 U.S. troops in Bagram, located around 40 km (25 miles) north of Kabul. Bagram air base in Afghanistan is used by the U.S. officials and Afghan military in a joint co-ordination. The military base is the largest in the country, and routinely serves as a platform to plan and coordinate anti-terrorism operations. Besides having completely functional runways and heli-pads, the base also works as reconnaissance and surveillance hub.
The base has increasingly come under attack in recent times. Two other foreigners working at the base have died this year in attacks, including one Georgian soldier, reported the Telegraph.
American forces are increasingly wary of Afghanistan’s security forces, especially against the rising threat of Taliban. Regional experts feel Afghanistan may not be able to contain the militant group without additional support from international troops.
The suicide attack that killed American soldiers is a sad reminder about Taliban’s ability to hit high-profile targets linked to the U.S.-backed government, reported Yahoo. Records indicate more than 2,300 American soldiers have died since the 2001 invasion.
[Photo by Tauseef Mustafa/Getty Images]