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US Bagram airbase attacked with rockets in Afghanistan – ISIS claims responsibility

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lucas Brogdon, a crew chief with the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (EAMXS), and Senior Airman Cody Ficsher, a communication and navigation specialist with the 455th EAMXS, wait for an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter to take off from Bagram Airfield in Parwan province, Afghanistan, July 9, 2014. (DOD photo by Senior Airman Sandra Welch, U.S. Air Force/Released)
April 09, 2020

Five rockets struck Bagram airfield, in Afghanistan on Thursday and the ISIS offshoot in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The base has reported no injuries from the rockets, which landed at the base, located near the Afghan capital of Kabul. The attack was disclosed by the official Twitter account for Operation Resolute Support, the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.

The Resolute Support Twitter account noted the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) of the Afghan government were investigating the source of the attack.

Reuters reported that the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), the ISIS terror group’s Afghan branch indicated on social media that its fighters launched the attack and intended to target a helicopter landing pad on the base. The name Islamic State Khorasan is derived from older name for the Afghan region. The ISIS branch first appeared in eastern Afghanistan in 2014 and has since gained prominence in the northern parts of the country.

A Taliban spokesman also denied the Taliban’s responsibility for the attack in a tweet. “#وضاحت * The rocket attack on Bagram is not the work of the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate. #توضیحات * Mujahideen attack on Bagram Airfield Mujahideen Emirate Islamic State.”

The Taliban has recently been engaged in efforts at a peace process with the U.S. government. The peace agreement calls for a reduction in violence, however Taliban fighters have carried out some attacks against Afghan government forces.

In a March testimony before the U.S. Senate, Defense Secretary Mark Esper assessed that Taliban forces have not been attacking U.S. positions and that they were mostly adhering to the agreement, “but not in terms of sustaining the reduction in violence,” against Afghan government targets.

The peace process has progressed somewhat, with the Taliban and Afghan governments proceeding with prisoner exchanges. Around 100 Taliban prisoners were released from a jail near the Bagram base on Wednesday and another 100 prisoners were reportedly scheduled for release on Thursday.

The prisoner swap agreement provide for the release of approximately 5,000 Taliban members held by the Afghan government, in exchange for around 1,000 members of Afghan security forces held by the Taliban.