US troops repelled a brazen Taliban attack that was literally on Bagram Airfield's doorstep

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22151179

Taliban fighters attempted to fight their way into Bagram Airfield on Wednesday by invading a medical facility just outside of the base's perimeter, a spokesman for Operation Resolute Support said Wednesday.

J.P. Lawrence of Stars and Stripes and Jim LaPorta of Newsweek first reported that the battle lasted for several hours after using car bombs to attack the hospital, which is near the base's northern corner. Helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft were reportedly used to drop ordnance on the hospital.

A video posted on Twitter by an administrator for Army WTF Moments purportedly shows the airstrikes on the abandoned hospital during the attack.

The Resolute Support spokesman, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, was unable to confirm that the video showed the airstrikes on the hospital.

No Taliban fighters were able to get inside the wire and none of the munitions was dropped inside Bagram, the spokesman claimed. The hospital, which borders the airfield, is currently under renovation. Both coalition and Afghan security forces informed local residents of the impending airstrikes and cordoned off the medical facility ahead of time as a safety measure.

The Taliban fighters who had barricaded themselves inside the hospital were eventually killed by a series of airstrikes in Wednesday evening, the spokesman said.

Two Afghan civilians were killed and more than 70 other civilians were wounded in the attack, the spokesman said, citing the Afghan interior ministry. Several coalition troops were treated and released for minor injuries, the spokesman said.

At Wednesday's House Armed Services Committee hearing, two lawmakers – one Democrat and the other Republican – both called for Congress to look into revelations reported by Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post that government officials have lied to the American public for nearly 20 years about supposed progress in Afghanistan.

Even as officials privately acknowledged the war was unwinnable, they manipulated statistics and other metrics to create the appearance that the military mission in Afghanistan was succeeding, Whitlock reported.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) mentioned a 2003 memo from then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in which Rumsfeld admitted he had "no visibility into who the bad guys are" in Afghanistan.

"Mr. Chairman, I would request that this committee hold hearings on the Afghan papers and call before Congress with subpoena every person who has misled this country," Khanna asked House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.)

Smith replied that he was in favor in such hearings, but he added: "I'm not going to call every single witness who has anything to do with this. I do not believe that would be a productive use of the committee's time."

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) also supported Smith and Khanna's call for hearings into the Washington Posts' Afghanistan reporting.

"We have been trading the same villages back and forth in Afghanistan for 20 years and I think the American people deserve answers," Gaetz said.