Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 5 April 2020

One woman killed, scores wounded in ongoing Afghan air base attack

More than 100 injured as Taliban struck a medical centre for Afghans near Bagram Air Base

An Afghan security official stands guard at the scene of a car bombing near the US Bagram Air Base in Bagram, Afghanistan, 11 December 2019. EPA
An Afghan security official stands guard at the scene of a car bombing near the US Bagram Air Base in Bagram, Afghanistan, 11 December 2019. EPA

A powerful suicide bombing on Wednesday killed one and injured more than 100 at an under-construction medical centre near Bagram Air Base north of Kabul.

Abdul Shukoor Qudosi, district governor of Bagram, confirmed to The National that over 100 civilians are injured in the attack that is still ongoing more than eight hours after it began. US forces are involved in the ongoing clashes and local media is reporting that 3 insurgents are dead, 1 has been arrested, and 3 remain active around the base. Taliban members are using RPGs and hand grenades according to locals.

In a statement to The National, USFOR-A confirmed an attack on Bagram Air Base, targeted a medical facility being constructed to help the Afghans who live near the base.

"Initial reports following the terror attack on the medical clinic building outside of Bagram airfield indicated fighting had ceased. We are now aware some armed fighters remain inside the medical facility," a US spokesperson told us.

The spokesperson also clarified "while still ongoing, the situation is isolated to the clinic building and Bagram airfield is not in danger and the defensive perimeter was never breached or compromised."

The individual added that "Some service members have been evaluated for minor injuries as a result of the initial attack."

The new statement counters an earlier statement by Colonel Sonny Legget, Resolute Support spokesman, who had initially stated that the attack was repelled in 30 mins and that no US or coalition personnel were reported among the casualties at the air base, but had stated that the medical centre was badly damaged.

However five Georgian soldiers are among the injured in the attack, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defence via their local media.

Two attackers detonated vehicles laden with explosives at the southern entrance to the base, while five opened fire. Zabihullah Mujahid, a pseudonym for one or two spokespersons for the Taliban has said they detonated a Mazda truck outside the airfield causing many casualties among foreign forces, and then asserts the attackers entered the base.

On Tuesday, Afghan forces intercepted a mini van full of explosives, suicide vests and weapons. A major complex attack on Kabul was thwarted, but the city remains on high alert.

The attack comes as Washington resumed talks with the insurgent force on Saturday, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly halted diplomatic efforts that could end the US's longest war.

More to follow.

Updated: December 11, 2019 06:05 PM

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