KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber struck a joint patrol of NATO and Afghan forces near a large military base just outside the Afghan capital on Sunday, killing at least three NATO service members and injuring three others, officials said.
Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for the coalition, said the attack happened in the Charikar district of Parwan Province, to the north of Kabul.
All three service members killed were from the Czech Republic, according to Lt. Gen. Ales Opata, the Czech Army’s chief of general staff. NATO said one of the wounded was American and two were Afghan.
Col. Alozai Ahmadi, head of security coordination in Parwan, said those attacked had been on a routine patrol going after suspicious groups in the larger perimeter around the Bagram military base, about five miles from the site of the attack. He said the bomber was young, about 18.
“After the attack, four choppers arrived, two of them ambulances. Two others circled in the sky above,” said Colonel Ahmadi, whose forces were called to the site after the bombing. “Mud walls near the incident collapsed by the shock wave of the bomb.”
There are 173 Czech soldiers at Bagram as part of the 10th A.C.R. Guard Company “to deflect hostile activities against the allied base,” according to the Czech Army.
“My thoughts and prayers, along with those of all 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,” Gen. John W. Nicholson, the United States commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement issued on behalf of the coalition mission, which is known as Resolute Support.
As Afghanistan’s security has deteriorated, with an Islamic State faction adding to the chaos, President Trump has increased the number of American troops here — a move echoed by other NATO members, including Britain. About 14,000 American troops are in Afghanistan, assisted by several thousand from NATO countries.
About 3,550 coalition troops have died in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001, including more than 2,200 Americans. So far this year, four Americans and three service members from other coalition countries have been killed.
Orignially published in NYT.