Afghanistan: A Taliban suicide bomber targeted a convoy carrying foreign troops outside Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on Monday in a VBIED attack, two Afghan officials said, after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide blast.
According to Bagram district governor Abdul Shakoor Quddusi, a car bomber attacked an armoured vehicle carrying foreign forces close to a gate to the base.
“The area is closed down by foreign forces and we don´t have any information of any possible casualties,” Quddusi told AFP.
A spokesperson for the Parwan governor said a suicide bomber had targeted a convoy of coalition forces at Bagram.
“The area is cordoned off by the coalition forces. We will release further details later,” the official said.
Later on Monday, Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan confirmed that at least three soldiers and a contractor had died while three others were injured in the attack.
The attack was formally claimed by the Afghan Taliban.
Bagram Airfield, America´s largest air base in Afghanistan, is located about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Kabul.
All three American servicemembers killed in a bombing outside Bagram Air Field were Marines, including a decorated New York City firefighter serving in the Marine Reserves, officials said Tuesday.
The U.S. Defense Department has identified the three Marines killed Monday outside Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan as Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, N.Y.; Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pa.; and Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Del.
All three were reservists assigned to the 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, according to a Pentagon news release.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the dead were all Marines. Committee members bowed their heads in a moment of silence.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that one of the dead was Christopher A. Slutman, 43, a 15-year member of the New York City Fire Department who was a Marine staff sergeant.
Slutman and Hines were friends and squad leaders together. News of their deaths left family and friends in their hometowns reeling.
Slutman, who leaves behind a wife and three daughters, was decorated for bravery in 2014 after rescuing an unconscious woman from a burning building in the South Bronx, de Blasio said in a statement.
“Firefighter Slutman bravely wore two uniforms and committed his life to public service both as a New York City Firefighter and as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” said New York Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “The hearts and prayers of the entire Department are with his loved ones and with the families of his fellow service members who lost their lives in service to our nation.”
He also served as a volunteer fireman in Prince George’s County, Md., until 2003.
“Chris served the citizens of Landover and Prince George’s County, Maryland valiantly,” said Oleg Pelekhaty, chief of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, in a statement. “During his 19-year career he [rose] through the ranks to become a Wagon Driver, Captain, but most of all — he was a fireman.”
“Through this trying time, we will remember Chris for the father, husband, brother, son, and friend that he was, the moral character he displayed daily, and the courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad,” Pelekhaty said.
Five Afghan civilians were wounded in the wake of the attack, local officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The Americans soldiers opened fire immediately after the convoy was bombed, said Abdul Shakor Qudosi, the district administrative chief in Bagram, the largest U.S. military base in the country.
Four of the wounded civilians were passers-by and the fifth was driving a car down the road, Abdul Raqib Kohistani, the Bagram district police chief, told the AP.
The bombing was the deadliest incident for Americans in Afghanistan since November, when a roadside bomb blast in the country’s eastern Ghazni province killed four U.S. troops.