- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 12, 2016

Four Americans were killed in Afghanistan early Saturday when a man wearing a suicide vest detonated himself inside Bagram Airfield north of Kabul, the Pentagon said.

The detonation claimed the lives of two service members and two contractors, all Americans, and injured 16 other U.S. service members and a Polish soldier, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement.

The Defense Department on Monday released the names of the two service members — Sgt. John W. Perry, 30, of Stockton, California, and Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt, 20, of Tamaroa, Illinois.

“Force protection is always a top priority for us in Afghanistan, and we will investigate this tragedy to determine any steps we can take to improve it,” the Pentagon chief said.

“For those who carried out this attack, my message is simple. We will not be deterred in our mission to protect our homeland and help Afghanistan secure its own future.”

The attack happened around 5:30 a.m. local time inside the confines of Bagram, the largest NATO military base in all of Afghanistan, where individuals had gathering for a post-Veterans Day fun run at the time of the explosion, NBC News reported.

The bomber likely acted when he did because he “was looking for an opportunity to do the most damage,” a senior U.S. official told the network on condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for the Taliban said the Islamic fundamentalist group was responsible for the blast, NBC reported.

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