Three US soldiers killed by explosive device in Afghanistan


Four Americans were killed and three others wounded Monday by a roadside bomb near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, military officials said.

The US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Three other service members were injured, a statement from the military says. The explosion occurred near Bagram air base, 50km (31 miles) north of the capital Kabul.

Seven US troops (8 Americans, including the contractor today) have been killed in action this year in Afghanistan. The names of those killed were being withheld for 24 hours until the notification of next of kin has been completed, as per Defense Department policy.

Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility of the attack and said the "suicide attacker destroyed two tanks and killed over 10 U.S. military servicemen". The conflicting accounts could not be immediately reconciled.

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Local officials said at least five Afghan civilians were wounded in the blast. Abdul Shakor Qudosi, the district administrative chief in Bagram, said American soldiers opened fire immediately after their convoy was bombed.

There are about 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan, supporting embattled Afghan forces as they struggle on two fronts - facing a resurgent Taliban who now hold sway over nearly half the country and also the Islamic State affiliate, which has sought to expand its footprint in Afghanistan even as its self-proclaimed "caliphate" has crumbled in Syria and Iraq.

In February, the top U.S. envoy seeking to broker peace in Afghanistan met the Taliban's co-founder in an attempt to end the 17-year conflict. 13 were killed past year.

Talks between representatives from the United States, the government of Afghanistan, and the Taliban have continued in the hopes of reaching a peace deal that could potentially see the withdrawal of US troops from the country and a pledge by the Taliban not to provide a safe haven for terrorist groups like al-Qaida and ISIS. The insurgents dismiss the Afghan government as a USA puppet.

Abdullah said the Taliban could partake in elections and even compete for the presidency if they renounce violence.