Wed Sep 6, 2017 04:24PM
An Afghan security personnel keeps watch near the largest US military base in Bagram, about 50 kilometers north of Kabul, after an explosion on November 12, 2016. (AFP photo)
An Afghan security personnel keeps watch near the largest US military base in Bagram, about 50 kilometers north of Kabul, after an explosion on November 12, 2016. (AFP photo)

Afghan and US military officials have confirmed an attack on the prestigious Bagram airfield in the east of Afghanistan.

A US military source said on Wednesday that the attack, which involved an explosion near the southern gate of the base, led to a “small number of casualties.”

Bagram is located near the capital Kabul in Parwan province. It is of high significance to foreign forces operating in Afghanistan, which remains insecure in many areas despite the presence of the US-led foreign forces.

US forces have been the target of numerous attacks in Afghanistan, especially in the recent past as the Taliban militant group, which was removed from power after the US-led invasion of the country in 2001, has regained a foothold across the country.

Even ordinary Afghans are suspicious of the US military presence in Afghanistan as many blame it for the continued bloodshed and instability in their country.

Some reports say the Taliban is currently in control of nearly half of Afghanistan while some defectors of the group have joined Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group based in the Middle East, which is using the lawlessness in some parts of Afghanistan to establish its own insurgency.

Washington has decided to increase by some 4,000 troops its current contingent of 8,500 military personnel in Afghanistan in an apparent bid to prevent a total failure of the international mission in the country.

More than 2,000 US forces have been killed and thousands more wounded since 2001.

The attack on Bagram came just hours after a US commander apologized for leaflets dropped by American jets that were deemed offensive to Islam.

Major General James Linder acknowledged that the leaflets dropped Monday night mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.

The leaflets, which were supposed to encourage people in the fight against the Taliban, had images depicting dogs carrying a flag of the militant group, which contains religious verses. That has sparked widespread anger among the Muslim Afghan people.

It was not clear whether the attack on Bagram and the protest against the leaflets were linked. Local officials said they expected demonstrations in the coming days in Parwan and other areas.