People gather at the site of an attack near the Bagram Air Base in Parwan province, Afghanistan, April 9, 2019. About five people, including three U.S. soldiers and a U.S. contractor and an assailant, were killed and at least eight people wounded following a suicide car bomb blast near a main coalition base in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, authorities said Tuesday. (Xinhua)
KABUL, April 9 (Xinhua) -- About five people, including three U.S. soldiers and a U.S. contractor and an assailant, were killed and at least eight people wounded following a suicide car bomb blast near a main coalition base in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, authorities said Tuesday.
"Three U.S. service members and one contractor were killed, and three U.S. service members were wounded by an improvised explosive device April 8 near Bagram Air Base," U.S. Forces-Afghanistan confirmed in a statement.
The wounded service members were evacuated and are receiving medical care, the statement read.
Meantime, an Afghan district police chief told Xinhua that the blast was caused by a suicide car bomb explosion that also killed the attacker and injured five civilian passers-by in Pul-e-Bariyk Ab area of Bagram district, Parwan province.
"The incident occurred roughly at 5:45 p.m. local time Monday. The injured civilians were shifted to a nearby hospital in Bagram," Major Naqib Kohistani told Xinhua, adding that the foreign forces' unit was traveling back to Bagram Airbase after a routine patrolling before the incident.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, claimed that an insurgent group's suicide bomber named Nasibullah Illyas has launched the attack and two U.S. military vehicles were also destroyed in the massive explosion.
The Bagram Airfield, some 50 km north of Afghan capital of Kabul, has been serving as a main U.S. and NATO military base in Afghanistan over the past 18 years.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the attack.
"My heartfelt prayers to the families of the Americans killed near Bagram. I condemn this disgusting terrorist act. U.S. service members have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan to keep us safe and no cowardly act of terror will impede our efforts to achieve peace," Pompeo tweeted.
Monday's incident marked the second deadly attacks on U.S. personnel in Afghanistan in three weeks. On March 22, two U.S. service members were killed while conducting an operation in northern Kunduz province.
The death toll of U.S. service members in Afghanistan has surpassed 2,420 since the United States launched a war in the country in 2001.
Since Jan. 1, 2015, Afghan security forces have assumed full security charges from NATO and U.S. forces.
Around 16,000 foreign troops have remained in Afghanistan to train and assist local security forces in their fight against the insurgents.
Fighting between government forces and Taliban fighters often gets intense in spring and summer as the seasons are locally branded as the fighting season.
Also on Monday, two Afghan army soldiers were killed by an army officer who is suspected to be a Taliban infiltrator in northern province of Samangan, an army spokesman Hanif Rezai confirmed in a statement.
He said the assailant also took an army vehicle with weapons before joining the local Taliban fighters in the province.
Dozens of Afghan soldiers and foreign troops and police have been killed in so-called insider attacks in the past 18 years.