At least two killed in Taliban suicide attack near US base

Assault near Bagram, north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, comes as Washington and the armed group resume peace talks.

Afghanistan hospital
Afghan security forces inspect the site of an attack near a US military air base in Bagram, north of Kabul [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

At least two Afghan civilians have been killed and 73 others injured in a Taliban suicide bombing near a key US military base, local officials have said. 

The early morning assault on Tuesday began when an attacker detonated an explosive-laden vehicle near Bagram military base in Parwan province, north of the capital, Kabul. 

Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesperson for the interior ministry, said in the evening that the attack was over and that all six assailants were killed.


Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson, said that the attackers detonated a truck bomb next to the wall of the base, and that the damage caused by the explosion enabled suicide bombers to enter the fortified military compound. 

Afghan and US officials could not immediately confirm if a truck bomb had been used in the attack, which NATO and the US said targeted an under-construction medical facility close to the base.

“The attack was quickly contained and repelled … but the future medical facility was badly damaged,” NATO’s Resolute Support mission said in a statement

Five servicemen from the former Georgia, which is part of the coalition, were among those injured, the country’s defence ministry said in a statement. The majority of casualties were Afghan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at a news conference, condemned the attack that he said wounded at least five coalition troops.

“This is precisely the kind of activity that we’re working to reduce,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington.

“The people of Afghanistan deserve an end to these senseless acts of violence. The United States stands with the Afghan people, their security forces and their desire to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan,” he said.

The US’s longest-running war

The latest attack comes days after a report said the US misled the public on the 18-year conflict, the US’s longest-running war.

The US, which has been battling an armed rebellion by the Taliban, recently resumed peace talks with the Afghan armed group in hopes of ending the fighting.

US President Donald Trump halted a previous round of meetings with the Taliban in September following the killing of a US soldier.

In a surprise visit to Bagram Airfield in November, Trump said US forces were to stay in the country “until such time as we have a deal, or we have total victory, and they want to make a deal very badly.”

Some 13,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan and the Taliban pose a continued threat to the Western-backed Afghan government.

A boy inspects his damaged home after after an attack near the Bagram Air Base in Parwan province of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. A powerful suicide bombing Wednesday targeted an unde
A boy inspects his damaged home after after an attack near the Bagram Air Base in Parwan province [Rahmat Gul/AP Photo]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies