A Croatian soldier was killed and two others seriously wounded in Kabul on Wednesday, July 24 when a Taliban suicide attacker hit their vehicle, officials said. Croatia has about 100 troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission, where coalition soldiers are helping train and advise local partners. According to a statement from the Croatian defense ministry, one soldier died “due to serious injuries.”
Croatian defense minister Damir Krsticevic said earlier that a suicide bomber was thought to have targeted the troops’ armored vehicle in the attack Wednesday morning. Krsticevic described the other two soldiers’ wounds as serious but not life-threatening. Croatian General Kresimir Tuskan said the troops had been working as part of a U.K.-led special operations advisory group.
One of the soldiers, identified as Josip Briski, suffered serious head injuries in the blast and later died in the U.S.-operated military hospital at Bagram airfield, the defence ministry and presidency said in statements.
“The serviceman received the maximum medical assistance at the hospital in Bagram … but he died due to the severity of his injuries,” the ministry said.
It was the first Croatian fatality in Afghanistan since the former Yugoslav republic and NATO member deployed troops there in 2003.
Afghan interior ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said the blast had come from a car bomb. The Taliban, who often exaggerate or misrepresent claims, said one of its “martyrdom” attackers had killed or wounded a “large number” of CIA officers by detonating a car packed with explosives. Kabul police spokesperson Ferdaws Faramarz told AFP that no Afghan police or civilians were wounded.
Violence in Kabul and across Afghanistan has flared up in recent weeks even as the U.S. is leading an effort to try to forge a peace deal with the Taliban after nearly 18 years of war. Both Afghan forces and the Taliban claim to have inflicted heavy casualties on each other and large numbers of civilians are being killed each week.