Thu, 23 Jan 2020

KABUL -- A suicide car-bomb attack close to the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan wounded at least five people on December 11 and damaged a hospital that was under construction near the entrance to Bagram airfield, coalition and Afghan officials said.

The attack, which has not yet been claimed, comes as the United States resumed talks with the Taliban on December 7 -- three months after President Donald Trump abruptly halted negotiations to end the 18-year war.

NATO's Resolute Support mission said there were no U.S. or coalition casualties and the airfield remained secure during the incident.

'Enemy forces conducted an attack on Bagram airfield this morning, targeting a medical facility being constructed to help the Afghan people who live near the base,' a Resolute Support statement said.

'The attack was quickly contained and repelled by [Afghan security forces] and coalition partners, but the future medical facility was badly damaged. There were no U.S. or coalition casualties and Bagram remained secure throughout the attack,'' it said.

Bagram District Governor Haji Abdul Shukur Quddusi said the explosion happened in the village of Jan Qadam near the Bagram airfield walls, situated north of Kabul.

Quddusi said a militant group destroyed a Bagram security post in the explosion and then clashed with security forces after entering the compound through the damaged wall.

Sporadic and ongoing gunfire was still heard at the scene, he added.

Bagram airfield is located some 50 kilometers north of Kabul.

General Mahfooz Walizada, the police commander of northern Parwan Province where the attack occurred, told AP that the attack targeted a U.S. military convoy.

Dr. Sangin, a physician who heads the provincial hospital, said that the hospital near the perimeter of the base was on fire and that his facility had received five injured.

All five wounded were Afghan nationals, said Wahida Shahkar, a spokeswoman for the governor of Parwan Province.

The United States is seeking a revival of peace talks with Taliban militants who either control or hold sway over about half the country, more than at any point since 2001, when they were removed from power by coalition forces.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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