Taliban attacks US base in Afghanistan

Taliban attacks US base in Afghanistan

KHOST, Afghanistan
Taliban attacks US base in Afghanistan

The blast killed three Afghans near a major US base in Afghanistan. AP photo

A suicide car bombing at a U.S. military base near a flashpoint city in eastern Afghanistan killed at least three Afghans and wounded seven others yesterday, officials said.

The blast, powerful enough to rattle windows four kilometers away, took place at the entrance to Forward Operating Base Chapman, which has been hit by at least three major suicide attacks this year, in Khost.

“Three Afghan nationals are killed and seven Afghan nationals are wounded. We have no report of coalition casualties right now,” said Major Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Abdul Qayoum Baqizai, the Khost provincial police chief, said in a live TV interview that the blast happened at the eastern gates of the base. “One police officer who tried to search the vehicle and two civilians nearby were killed,” he said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. They have waged a bloody insurgency against foreign and Afghan forces since being ousted from power in a 2001 invasion led by the United States. “The attack was carried out by a mujahid named Omar from Khost who knew the area very well,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told Agence France-Presse by email. He said the attacker “detonated a car bomb while American invading forces were searching visitors going to the base.” It came two days after an Afghan policewoman shot dead a U.S. NATO adviser inside Kabul police headquarters, the latest “insider” attack by a member of Afghanistan’s security forces on their foreign allies.

Scene of attacks

Khost province shares a porous border with Pakistan’s tribal belt, which lies outside government control and where U.S. officials say the Taliban and al-Qaeda have carved out rear bases for operations in Afghanistan. Khost has been the scene of several bloody attacks this year. In May, a suicide bomber killed 13 at a lunch gathering of police and civilians; in June a bomber on a motorbike rammed an Afghan-NATO patrol, killing 21; and in October another suicide attack on a patrol killed 20.
In August 2010, 24 Taliban militants, some wearing U.S. uniforms, were killed when they tried to storm Camp Chapman and another nearby U.S. base, Camp Salerno.