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Six Afghan workers killed outside Bagram Airfield

A U.S. aircraft takes off at Bagram Airfield in 2016. Six Afghan workers at Bagram were killed about 500 yards from the base by a gunman Thursday, an Afghan official said.

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 17, 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan — Six Afghans who worked at Bagram Airfield were shot dead Thursday just outside the base, an Afghan official said.

The workers were driving home in a motorized rickshaw and were about 500 yards from the base when an unidentified gunman began shooting at about 10 p.m., said Wahida Shahkar, a spokeswoman for the governor of Parwan province, where Bagram is located.

“These people were ordinary workers at Bagram, like cleaners and others,” Shahkar said, adding that three others were injured in the attack.

The gunman fled the scene by motorcycle, Shahkar said.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the shooting in a statement Friday, though they have long considered Afghan workers on foreign bases and embassies legitimate targets. No other group immediately claimed responsibility.

The killings follow a spate of unsuccessful attacks in recent weeks at Bagram, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Last week, ISIS claimed responsibility for firing several rockets out of a car nearby at the base. Foreign forces intercepted two of the rockets, while the others landed outside the base and injured no one, local officials said.

The attacks have come as the U.S. works toward a full withdrawal of foreign forces by mid-2021, if the Taliban abides by conditions outlined in a Feb. 29 agreement. The Taliban must help keep terrorists from operating in Afghanistan and hold talks with the Kabul government, among other terms of the agreement made public.

However, Taliban attacks on Afghan forces, disagreements over prisoner exchanges and political infighting have hampered the peace process.

Earlier this week, the U.S.’s top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, and U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited Pakistan to discuss peace efforts with the country’s officials.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com
Twitter: @pwwellman