One Croatian service member died and two more were injured in an attack on a convoy that took place early on Wednesday morning in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic confirmed in an emergency press conference.
All three were transferred to the nearby US-run hospital in Bagram. One of the soldiers was in life-threatening condition and he succumbed to his injuries around noon. The other two, who sustained arm and leg injuries in the blast, are in stable condition.
“This is an isolated attack, and the rest of the Croatian contingent is safe,” Krsticevic said.
The Taliban have since taken responsibility for the attack, according to AFP.
The attack happened at around 8 am as the troops were driving towards the nearby camp, when a motor vehicle drove into one of the three armoured vehicles in the convoy.
Croatian military personnel is stationed in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support, a NATO-led mission which provides training, assistance, and advice to Afghan security units and institutions in conflict with extremist groups. The mission, which began in January 2015, consists of more than 13,000 troops, with Croatia contributing with around 100 soldiers.
"All our troops deployed to Afghanistan are there to contribute as advisors and mentors, they are not taking part in military operations. They're there to help with organising Afghan security forces, which makes this attack difficult to understand," said vice admiral Robert Kranj.
This is the first Croatian casualty in Afghanistan since the country's troops were first deployed there as part of NATO missions in 2003, Reuters reported.