Explosion Rocks NATO Air Base in Afghanistan, Taliban Claims Responsibility

Four people were killed and 14 others wounded Saturday in an explosion at the NATO air base at Bagram, north of the Afghan capital Kabul.

The NATO-led Resolute Support mission said an explosion occurred just after 5.30 a.m. and that there had been casualties.

“An explosive device was detonated on Bagram Airfield resulting in multiple casualties. Four people have died in the attack and approximately 14 have been wounded,” NATO said in a statement.

“Response teams at Bagram continue to treat the wounded and investigate the incident.”

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast inside Bagram Airfield, which is one of the most heavily guarded military installations in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgent group was behind the attack, claiming it inflicted “heavy casualties on U.S. invaders”.

The blast was caused by a suicide attacker who detonated himself near a dining facility inside the base, said Waheed Sediqi, spokesman for the governor of Parwan province where Bagram is located.

“We don’t know the identity of victims yet but the attacker was one of the Afghan laborers working there,” Sediqi told AFP.

Bagram district governor Abdul Shakoor Quddusi described the explosion around 0100 GMT as “powerful”, saying it reverberated across the area.

The explosion highlights rising insecurity in Afghanistan nearly two years after U.S.-led NATO forces formally ended their combat operations.

The United States has around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, with the largest contingent stationed at the Bagram base.

“To the family and friends of those who lost their lives today, we share your loss and our thoughts are with you. We offer you our deepest condolences,” said John Nicholson, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Last December, a motorcycle-riding Taliban suicide bomber killed six U.S. soldiers near the base in one of the deadliest attacks on foreign troops in the country in 2015.

The latest assault came after a powerful Taliban truck bomb struck the German consulate in Afghanistan’s northern Mazar-i-Sharif city late Thursday, killing at least six people and wounding more than 100 others.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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