Published: Wed, April 10, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

US service members and 1 contractor killed in Afghanistan

US service members and 1 contractor killed in Afghanistan

Three US service members and a contractor have been killed by an improvised explosive device close to a major base near Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, the US military has said.

The blast near Bagram Air Base is the latest to hit American forces amid an ongoing, US-led drive to forge a peace deal in Afghanistan, more than 17 years after the Taliban were ousted.

In addition, three US service members were wounded in the blast.

Prior to Monday's attack, there had been a total of four American troops killed in Afghanistan in 2019: Sgt. Cameron Meddock, Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale, Spc.

An Afghan military convoy drives past the site of a vehicle bomb attack where U.S soldiers were killed near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, April 9, 2019.

A government counteroffensive has since regularly carried out air raids against Taliban positions in the district and USA -led coalition planes have assisted, the Defense Ministry in Kabul said Monday.

Fighting also has intensified in other parts of Afghanistan with the advent of spring, despite USA -led efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban.

Monday's USA fatalities bring to seven the number of US soldiers killed so far this year in Afghanistan, underscoring the difficulties in bringing peace to the war-wrecked country even as Washington has stepped up efforts to find a way to end the 17-year war, America's longest.

The names of the casualties are being withheld for at least 24 hours pending next-of-kin notification.

A provincial council member said last week that around 600 Afghan security forces were trapped inside the base, running low on ammunition, food and water.

There are 14,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, many of whom train, advise and assist Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban.

Afghans, meanwhile, are on high alert for a new round of violence when the militants kick off their expected spring offensive.

Taliban leaders are set to meet with Afghan officials in Qatar next week for a fresh round of talks as the U.S. tries to broker a peace deal. The Taliban has balked at negotiating with the Afghans, which the group views as an American puppet organization. The outspoken advisor visited eastern provinces when Khalilzad was in Kabul.

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