Taliban claim responsibility for attack on Afghan base

KABUL: The Taliban on Wednesday claimed responsibility for an attack in Afghanistan overnight that killed four US troops, just hours after Washington said its officials would met the insurgents for talks.

“Last night two big rockets were launched at Bagram (air base) which hit the target. Four soldiers are dead and six others are wounded. The rockets caused a major fire,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP by telephone.

The deaths were caused by insurgent “indirect fire,” either mortars or rockets, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The report of casualties came hours after the Taliban insurgency announced it would enter into peace talks with the Afghan government and the United States, and after Nato formally handed responsibility for security to the Kabul government.

There were no further details of the attack at Bagram, a sprawling base about 30 miles (47 kilometers) north of Kabul that serves as a major hub for US aircraft.

The US military’s presence in Afghanistan is roughly 66,000 troops, after having reached a peak of about 100,000 forces.