USA forces: 3 USA troops killed, Afghan contractor wounded

The militants launched their assault ahead of a widely expected spring offensive

The militants launched their assault ahead of a widely expected spring offensive

Three other Americans service members were also wounded in the attack, which occurred near Bagram Air Base.

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

Qudoosi claimed that the attack was carried out by an explosive-laden vehicle.

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.

The names of the casualties are being withheld for at least 24 hours pending next-of-kin notification. Afghan officials said the blast killed a police officer and a civilian while eight other people were injured. He leaves behind his wife, Shannon, and three daughters.

The Taliban claimed responsibility. Abdul Shakor Qudosi, the district administrative chief in Bagram, said American soldiers opened fire immediately after their convoy was bombed.

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There are about 14,000 USA forces in Afghanistan, supporting embattled Afghan forces as they struggle on two fronts - facing a resurgent Taliban who now hold sway over nearly half the country and also the Islamic State affiliate, which has sought to expand its footprint in Afghanistan even as its self-proclaimed "caliphate" has crumbled in Syria and Iraq.

In February, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he had not received orders from President Donald Trump to reduce the number of USA troops in Afghanistan by half, but US military planners had been tasked with a possible troop reduction after internal discussions began late past year, according to US officials.

The Taliban have held talks with a USA envoy in recent months while continuing to carry out daily attacks on Afghan forces.

A series of U.S. -Taliban meetings has raised hopes that a political solution might finally be achieved almost 20 years after U.S. military forces entered Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

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.

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