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Scores wounded in attack near U.S. base in Afghanistan

11 Dec 2019 CBS News

Afghan security forces take position at the site of an attack in a U.S. military air base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, December 11, 2019. MOHAMMAD ISMAIL/REUTERS

Kabul, Afghanistan — A powerful suicide bombing targeted an under-construction medical facility on Wednesday near Bagram Air Base, the main American base north of the Afghan capital, the U.S. military said. Afghan officials said scores of Afghan civilians were killed and at least two killed in the attack.

The attackers struck a facility being built to help the Afghan people who live in the area, the U.S. military said. There were no serious coalition casualties and the base remained secure, but there were still "some armed fighters" inside the medical facility, the military said.

The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, embellishing, as it often does, its success. The Taliban statement denied any civilian casualties and claimed the attackers had managed to enter the Bagram base, even penetrating barracks used by coalition forces.

"While still ongoing, the situation is isolated to the clinic building and Bagram airfield is not in danger and the defense perimeter was never breached or compromised," a spokesperson for the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan said.  

Outside the sprawling base, several homes, mostly belonging to poor Afghans, were destroyed. A large mosque in the area was also badly damaged.

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Shortly after the bombing, Afghan troops, special forces and intelligence officers cordoned off the perimeter of the base with armored personnel carriers. Heavily armed soldiers kept residents far from the gates to Bagram Air Base.

Within minutes of the suicide bombing, U.S. fighter aircraft bombed the area, according to witnesses

Dr. Abdul Qasim Sangin, a physician who heads the main hospital in the province, said the hospital near the perimeter of the base was on fire. It wasn't immediately clear if any foreigners were inside the hospital.

Sangin said his hospital received six wounded, all Afghans. Five were in stable condition and one was critical, he said. Scores more were treated and released by medics at the scene. Most were suffering cuts and bruises from flying glass and debris.

The Taliban control or hold sway over nearly half of Afghanistan, staging regular attacks that target foreign and Afghan forces, as well as Kabul government officials, but also kill scores of civilians.

Original Link: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bagram-air-base-afghanistan-taliban-suicide-bombing-attack-death-toll-medical-facility-2019-12-11/

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