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Suicide Blast at US-run Bagram Airbase Kills 4 Americans, Wounds 17

  • Ayaz Gul

Afghanistan's National Army soldiers stand guard, blocking the main road to the Bagram Airfield's main gate in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 12, 2016.

Afghanistan's National Army soldiers stand guard, blocking the main road to the Bagram Airfield's main gate in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 12, 2016.

A suspected Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up inside the U.S.-military run Bagram airbase in Afghanistan Saturday morning, killing four Americans and wounding 16 American servicemen and one Polish soldier.

A statement from Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the apparent suicide bomber killed two American soldiers and two American contractors working on the base.

Afghan media sources said the attack occurred just outside the dining hall at the facility. The bomber was disguised as a laborer at the airbase, which is north of Kabul.

"I condemn the suicide attack at Bagram and stand in solidarity with families and friends of those killed and wounded today," said Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah through his official Twitter account.

Afghan security forces and NATO troops investigate at the site of explosion near the German consulate office in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2016.

Afghan security forces and NATO troops investigate at the site of explosion near the German consulate office in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2016.

“On November 12, an explosive device was detonated on Bagram Airfield resulting in multiple casualties. Four people have died in the attack,” Army General John W. Nicholson, commander of Operation Resolute Support, said in a written statement.

The statement added that Resolute Support — the NATO-led training and counterterror mission in Afghanistan — and U.S. forces in Afghanistan would continue to battle those who target coalition and Afghan forces and Afghan civilians in the effort to "create a better Afghanistan."

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its bomber had infiltrated the local staff at the airbase months before he carried out attack. Carter said authorities were investigating the attack to determine what steps could be taken to improve security, and he vowed that U.S. forces would not be deterred in their mission to protect the United States and to help Afghanistan secure its own future.

The violence came after Thursday night’s bomb-and-gun raid on the German consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. That attack left at least six people dead and wounded about 130 others, mostly civilians.

Germany said Friday that all its German and Afghan employees at the diplomatic mission had escaped unhurt.

The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack, saying it was carried out to take “revenge” for the killings of Afghan civilians in neighboring Kunduz province in a U.S. airstrike earlier this month.

The insurgent group vowed to carry out more such attacks against countries participating in Resolute Support, which mainly comprises U.S. troops.

VOA national security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.

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