The US military has confirmed that those six soldiers killed in an attack on NATO forces near an airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan were American troops.
During the attack, which was conducted by a bomber at about 1:30 p.m. local time Monday, two other American soldiers and an American contractor were also injured.
“We’re deeply saddened by this loss,” said Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, a spokesman for coalition forces, in a statement. “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those affected in this tragic incident, especially during this holiday season.”
In a Twitter message, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack that was carried out by the bomber, who was on a motorcycle. The attacker detonated an explosive while a convoy of Afghan and international forces were patrolling in Bagram, which is home to the largest US military base in the country.
In a written statement, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter offered his condolences to the families of the slain American troops.
“It is with deep regret that I learned today that six U.S. service members died in Afghanistan Monday,” Carter said. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of these brave Americans who died in service to this vital mission, and our thoughts remain with all of our troops serving overseas during this holiday season so that we may have peace and security at home.”
The attack on foreign troops comes more than a week after Taliban targeted a guesthouse of the Spanish embassy in Kabul and another air base in the southern province of Kandahar.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after more than 14 years, militants are continuing their deadly attacks across the country.
On December 28, 2014, President Barack Obama announced the end of US combat operations in Afghanistan. However, Washington has kept around 9,800 US troops in Bagram, located around 40 km (25 miles) north of Kabul.
The Monday death toll brings the tally of NATO service members died in Afghanistan so far this year to 25.