Afghanistan: 3 US military personnel killed by Taliban

10th Apr 2019
Afghanistan: 3 US military personnel killed by Taliban

By Umar Farooq and Shadi Khan Saif

 

WASHINGTON (AA): Three U.S. service members were killed and three more injured in a Taliban-claimed suicide car bombing on Monday near a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, officials confirmed.

The wounded were evacuated and are currently receiving medical care, said the Pentagon.

On the fallen soldiers, Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the United States Forces – Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, said on Tuesday: “We feel and mourn the loss of these Americans with their families and loved ones. They volunteered to protect their country. We will continue our mission.”

The mission also clarified that an Afghan contractor feared killed by the attack is in fact alive.

“The contractor, an Afghan citizen, was initially treated along with other injured civilians, later identified as a contractor and treated at Bagram Airfield,” it said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the attack. “My heartfelt prayers to the families of the Americans killed near Bagram. I condemn this disgusting terrorist act. U.S. service members have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan to keep us safe and no cowardly act of terror will impede our efforts to achieve peace,” he said on Twitter.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for killings. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed tweeted an image of the blast along with a statement saying a suicide bomber waited for hours for the Americans to come out of the base before attacking them.

The air base, 40 miles from Kabul, is the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, and houses thousands of troops from Washington.

The names of the slain military personnel are being withheld until their families or next of kin are notified.

Last month two U.S. soldiers were killed in the Kunduz province during an operation, an official statement confirmed on March 22. In January, the Taliban took responsibility for killing one U.S. soldier in the Uruzgan province.

The deaths come amid negotiations to broker peace between Afghan national forces and the Taliban.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, is leading the push for talks with the Taliban. He returned to Kabul on Sunday after a brief visit to Pakistan.

The push follows multiple rounds of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban in Qatar.

The next round of talks is set to take place later this month, but no exact dates have been announced.

The U.S.-led talks are aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

The deaths Monday bring the total number of U.S. service members killed this year to seven.

[Map of Afghanistan By Tubs/Creative Commons]

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