US troops in Afghanistan (Picture: US Department of Defense).
Afghanistan

US Forces Assist Afghan Troops Following Attack

There around 1,000 UK personnel in Afghanistan training local forces and providing security to NATO advisors in the country.

US troops in Afghanistan (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Library image of US troops in Afghanistan (Picture: US Department of Defense).

US forces are assisting Afghan troops after militants set off a double suicide blast and stormed a construction company near the airport in Jalalabad, killing at least 16 people.

The dawn assault triggered an hours-long battle with local guards, which saw US forces drafted in to help Afghan soldiers in the eastern Nangarhar province.

Nine people were also wounded in the attack according to Attahullah Khogyani, the provincial governor's spokesman. 

No one immediately claimed the attack but the Taliban group and the so-called Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar.

Afghan Army (Picture: PA).
Members of the Afghan military are being assisted by the US (Picture: PA).

The two groups have been carrying out near-daily attacks across Afghanistan in recent years, mainly targeting the government and Afghan security forces.

The attacks have continued despite stepped-up US efforts to find a negotiated resolution of the 17-year war.

Mr Khogyani said Wednesday's attack began at 5am, involving five attackers.

Two detonated their explosives, blowing themselves up, while the remaining three were killed in the shooting.

The attackers were on foot and after setting off suicide blasts at the company gates, the others stormed in, triggering a battle that drew US forces to the scene, according to General Ghulam Sanayee Stanikzai, the provincial police chief.

"US forces are supporting Afghan forces in securing the area now," General Stanikzai later said.

RAF Chinook in Afghanistan (Picture: MOD).
RAF Chinook in Afghanistan (Picture: MOD).

It was unclear why the construction company, called MQ, was targeted.

Over the weekend, the Taliban targeted an Afghan army unit at its camp in southern Helmand province, killing at least 23 troops and wounding more than 20 others.

That attack began on Friday and ended 40 hours later on Saturday evening.

The Taliban claimed the Helmand attack, which came as insurgents were meeting a US peace envoy in Qatar for talks.

British troops remain in Afghanistan, some in Kabul providing security to NATO advisors as they travel across the city, while others are involved with the training of Afghan Security Forces.

Overall, there around 1,000 UK personnel in Afghanistan, following an announcement to send 440 more troops to the country last July.

There have been reports suggesting the US is preparing to pull 7,000 of its troops from Afghanistan.