Auto bomb kills 3 USA service members, contractor in Afghanistan

Auto bomb kills 3 USA service members, contractor in Afghanistan

A bomb blast outside America's largest military base in Afghanistan killed three American servicemembers and a civilian contractor on Monday, the USA military said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed three American soldiers and one contractor.

Three other service members were injured, a statement from the military says. The names of the casualties are being withheld for at least 24 hours pending next-of-kin notification.

The Taliban said a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation base in Bagram district, in the Parwan Province. The conflicting accounts could not be immediately reconciled.

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There are about 14,000 USA 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.

The deadly bombing comes amid ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban aimed at reaching a peace agreement to end the war, now in its 18th year.

Prior to Monday's attack, there had been a total of four American troops killed in Afghanistan in 2019: Sgt. Cameron Meddock, Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale, Spc. USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with President Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan leaders in Kabul in recent days, seeking to build support for nascent discussions with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar. "Both the Taliban and the government should move forward as Afghans".

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