A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a foreign military convoy in Afghanistan on Monday, wounding two U.S. soldiers and three civilians, officials said.
The Taliban claimed the attack near Bagram airfield, America’s largest base in the country. It comes a few days after another insurgent blew himself up outside the military facility over a U.S. propaganda leaflet deemed highly offensive to Muslims. The attack follows the Taliban’s vow to turn Afghanistan into a “graveyard” for foreign forces after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to keep American troops in the country indefinitely.
“We had two U.S. soldiers wounded and their injuries are not life-threatening,” said Navy Captain William Salvin, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Parwan provincial police chief Mohammad Zaman Mamozai told AFP that three civilians were also wounded in the attack.
The Taliban, which ruled the war-torn country from 1996-2001, claimed responsibility for the latest assault in a WhatsApp message sent to journalists, saying 24 “invaders” had been killed and injured, and three military vehicles destroyed. The militants routinely exaggerate battlefield claims.
It is not clear if the attack is also linked to the leaflet drop in the northern province of Parwan, where Bagram is located. The leaflet depicted a lion chasing a white dog—the same color as the Taliban’s flag—with the Islamic statement of faith—“There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad (PBUH) is the messenger of Allah”—superimposed on its body.
Dogs are seen as unclean creatures by some Muslims and the association of Islam with a canine in deeply religious Afghanistan angered many people. Major General James Linder, who heads the U.S. and NATO special operations forces in Afghanistan, apologized for the leaflet design, which he said was an “error.”