Afghan officials believe the man responsible for killing four U.S. service members and wounding several others Friday was either an employee or ex-employee at Bagram Airbase.
The suicide attacker, Qari Enayatullah, reportedly lived in the surrounding area and was a known ex-Taliban member. Enayatullah re-entered Afghan society in 2008 under a reconciliation program, designed to make peace with former Taliban terrorists.
Bagram Airbase is one of the most secure U.S. facilities in the world. Enayatullah’s job at the base allowed him to mount such a devastating attack, but it’s unclear how he secured employment. The majority of the nearly 10,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan are assigned to Bagram Airbase. In the wake of the attack, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul closed its doors as a “temporary precautionary measure.”
The attack comes amid a grim period of losses for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Two U.S. special operators were killed November 3, and four others wounded in Afghanistan amidst a fierce Taliban attack in the northern part of the country. Four other U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan were killed prior to the November 3 attack bringing total 2016 U.S. casualties to 10 U.S. service-members.
The successful suicide attack also comes as the Taliban makes historic gains across Afghanistan, controlling more territory today than at any time since the U.S. invasion in 2001. The U.S.-backed Afghan Security Forces in turn have suffered 15,000 injuries in the first eight months of 2016, with 5,523 ending in death.
“I would call what is going on right now between the Afghan national defense security forces and the Taliban [as] roughly a stalemate,” Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford told Congress in September. A senior U.S. administration official went further and termed the overall Afghan situation as an “eroding stalemate.”
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