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Six American Soldiers Killed In Afghan Suicide Attack

The Bagram base is located north of Kabul.
The Bagram base is located north of Kabul.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department said six U.S. soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber near Bagram air base in Afghanistan, in the deadliest attack on international forces since August.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said two other military personnel and a U.S. contractor also died in the December 21 bombing. The group encountered a suicide bomber on an explosives-laden motorcycle when it was on patrol.

An unnamed U.S. official was quoted by news agencies earlier as saying an Afghan soldier was among the injured.

The Pentagon and the White House expressed its condolences to the families of the six Americans killed, but said the United States remains committed to supporting the Afghan people and their government.

Carter called the attack "a painful reminder of the dangers our troops face every day in Afghanistan."

The attack happened as Taliban militants overran the district of Sangin in Helmand Province, south of Bagram, on December 21.

Later in the day, three rockets hit a district in the capital Kabul where many foreign embassies and government buildings are located. There were no immediately details on casualties or damage.

On August 22, three American contractors were killed in a suicide attack in Kabul.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council extended sanctions against the Taliban for 18 months in a resolution that also warned of the increasing presence of affiliates of the Islamic State extremist group.

Nicholas Haysom, the UN envoy for Afghanistan, told reporters that the security situation in Afghanistan is "extremely challenging" with the most significant threat coming from the Taliban.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP