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Afghanistan: Suicide bomber kills 3 NATO troops

05 Aug 2018 Al Jazeera

A suicide bomber killed three NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan in an attack that also wounded a US service member and two Afghan troops.

The NATO Resolute Support mission troops killed in the attack, which took place at about 6am local time (01:30 GMT) on Sunday near the town of Charikar, in Parwan province, were all Czech service members.

"My thoughts and prayers, along with those of all of the 41 Resolute Support nations, are with the families and friends of our fallen and wounded service members, and our injured Afghan brothers and their families," US military general John Nicholson, commander of the NATO mission, said.

The Czech Republic Ministry of Defence has confirmed three of its soldiers were killed in Afghanistan today. The Czech Defence Secretary & Chief of Staff for the Army have expressed their deepest sympathy to the family & loved ones of those lost.

— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) August 5, 2018

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Al Jazeera's Charlotte Bellis, reporting from the Afghan capital, Kabul, said the suicide bomber targeted troops conducting a foot patrol within 10km of Bagram Airfield, the US' largest base in Afghanistan, shortly after sunrise.

NATO mission

Sunday's attack took place 13 months after three US soldiers were shot dead by a Taliban gunman in Nangarhar province, about 300km southeast of Parwan, last June.

NATO formally concluded its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, but has kept around 16,000 troops - including some 14,000 US service members - in the country to help train local Afghan forces.

The Czech Republic recently approved a plan to deploy 390 soldiers in Afghanistan through 2020, up from the current 230, as part of the ongoing operation.

Last year, US President Donald Trump vowed the United States would continue fighting in Afghanistan in a bid to avoid the "predictable and unacceptable" results of a premature withdrawal from the country, where where the US has been at war since 2001.

"A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, would instantly fill," Trump said.

The Taliban, which was removed from power following the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, is the country's largest rebel group.

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