Two U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday according to Reuters when a NATO convoy came under attack in Kandahar province, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said, with NATO adding that the assault led to an unspecified number of casualties.
— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) August 2, 2017
AFP reported earlier on Wednesday that a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the convoy near the Kandahar airport, home to a major military base for international troops helping Afghan security forces in their battle against the Taliban insurgency.
“At around noon a car bomb targeted a convoy of foreign forces in the Daman area of Kandahar,” he said.
The Taliban terrorist group, which has a heavy presence in the southern Afghan province, claimed the attack in a text message to the news agency. Local media also said the group announced it is behind the attack.
A total of 13,459 soldiers from 39 countries, including about 7,000 US troops, are currently contributing to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM). The mission is mainly focused on “training, assisting and advising” the Afghan forces, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In late June, Stoltenberg announced that the alliance would send “a few thousand more troops” to Afghanistan, without specifying the exact number of the new contingent. Washington was reportedly planning to deploy 4,000 troops in addition to its forces that are already part of the mission in Afghanistan.
The US forces mainly operate from an airfield located in Kandahar, while more than 300 marines and army soldiers are stationed in the neighboring Helmand province. The convoy hit in the attack was allegedly heading to the Kandahar airfield, according to the Afghan Tolo News. The attack on the convoy came just a day after an assault that targeted a Shiite mosque in the western Afghan city of Herat. The assault claimed the lives of 20 people and left dozens injured. A week earlier, a massive blast rocked the Afghan capital, Kabul, leaving 35 people dead and 40 others injured.