Six United States service members were killed today when a Taliban suicide bomber struck a convoy near Bagram Air Base, the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan since July 2012. Bagram, which is the U.S.’s largest outpost in Afghanistan, is located just over 30 miles from the national capital of Kabul. From the New York Times:
The Taliban suicide bomber struck a joint patrol of American and Afghan troops moving through a village near Bagram Air Base … Abdul Shakor Qudosi, the district governor of Bagram, which is north of Kabul, said three Afghan police officers were wounded in the attack. “The suicide bomber was riding a motorcycle and struck a joint patrol” of Afghan and American soldiers, Mr. Qudosi said.
Slate’s Joshua Keating wrote on Dec. 10 that the Taliban is simultaneously more powerful and more vulnerable than it has been in some time; while the extremist group has recently been gaining control of more and more territory in Afghanistan, it’s also facing its own sort of insurgency in the form of ISIS, which has attacked it and induced many of its fighters to defect.
President Obama announced earlier this year that the U.S. will keep a force of 9,800 soldiers in Afghanistan through at least 2016.