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Afghanistan: 6 NATO service members killed

22nd Dec 2015
Afghanistan: 6 NATO service members killed
WASHINGTON /KABUL (AA): At least six NATO-led coalition troops were killed as a result of suicide car bombing near Bagram airfield, the biggest U.S. base in Afghanistan on Monday afternoon as the security situation has deteriorated in other parts of the country.

The suicide attack took place early afternoon in Bagram district, Parwan province, some 60 km north of capital Kabul, the district chief Abdul Shakoor Qudoosi told Anadolu Agency, adding that six foreign forces were killed and six others including three Afghan policemen were wounded in the incident.

The Taliban militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter expressed his regret in a statement for the six American soldiers being killed and two others wounded in the incident.

“We are still learning all of the details, but two other service members and a U.S. contractor were also injured. They died after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on their patrol outside Bagram Air Base. It serves as a painful reminder of the dangers our troops face every day in Afghanistan,” Carter said.

The attack came just after Carter’s visit to the country last Friday.

Meanwhile, a U.S. army veteran was shot dead in her residence in Kabul on Sunday evening. According to Afghan police officials, she was killed by a mullah who was later arrested.

Two rockets landed — one in NATO headquarters and the other near the presidential palace in the capital Monday evening. There were no reports of casualties.

In the volatile southern Helmand province, the Taliban captured the district  of Sangin and besieged over 100 policemen. This comes after Helmand’s deputy governor, Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar, said that the situation in Helmand was dire and that if immediate action was not taken, the entire province could fall under Taliban control.

“Around 90 Afghan soldiers lost their lives in the past two days in Sangin and Girishk districts and more would fall prey [to the Taliban] if the situation goes out of control,” Rasoulyar said.

However officials in Kabul rejected the fall of Sangin, saying severe clashed took place between security forces and the Taliban and that the district center and other government buildings were still in the control of security forces.

“At least 59 Taliban militants have been killed in the district,” said Ministry of Defense spokesman Dawlat Waziri .

Top security official Mohammad Rasool Zazai said fighting between security forces and insurgents were still underway and certain checkposts were recaptured.

On Dec. 9, the Taliban overran Helmand’s Khanshin district center after fierce clashes with security forces.

Karim Atal, the provincial council chief, had said security personnel could not resist the Taliban attacks and that they had to retreat to an army base some three km from the district center.

He said the Khanshin police chief had been seriously injured in the battle.

The situation in Musa Kala and other districts of Helmand has been steadily deteriorating, worrying provincial authorities.

Recently Rasoulyar, Helmand’s deputy governor, wrote an open letter — which was also published on social media website Facebook — to the president and informed him about the overall security situation of the province.

U.S. and British Special Forces were re-deployed in Helmand to fight alongside Afghan partners against Taliban militants gaining ground in the province.

U.S. and British troops had ended their combat mission in 2014, handing over all of their bases to Afghanistan’s security forces in Helmand province.

A month back, the Taliban captured the Marja district of Helmand blocking all routes to the town and took control of major government buildings.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on Monday held an emergency Cabinet meeting and said the government was fully aware of growing insecurity and unstable situations in Helmand.

He said the situation would improve in the near future as strict security measures had been put in place.

Helmand is a strategic province. Insecurity and Taliban control of parts of the province helped strengthen the insurgents and contributed to the production of poppy.

U.S. Secretary of Defense expressed his regret in a statement for the six American soldiers being killed and two others wounded in the incident.

“We are still learning all of the details, but two other service members and a U.S. contractor were also injured. They died after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on their patrol outside Bagram Air Base. It serves as a painful reminder of the dangers our troops face every day in Afghanistan,” Carter said.

The attack came just after Carter’s visit to the country last Friday as a part of his regional trip to visit U.S. forces in the region.

Author: Kasım İleri
[Photo: Earlier this month Taliban attacked airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on December 09, 2015. At least 46 people were killed. Photographer: Aziz Sana/AA]

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