Blasts, shooting at US Afghan base

Last updated 07:29 03/12/2012

Bodies found after militants fire rockets and detonate bombs outside US base in Jalalabad.

Relevant offers


Planned Parenthood suspect mentioned 'no more baby parts,' official says Brazilian police search for Santa Claus who stole Sao Paulo helicopter Donald Trump reframes claim that Muslims cheered 9/11 attacks Could hidden chamber in King Tut's tomb solve Queen Nefertiti mystery? Woman dies at Australian music festival as dozens charged with drug offences New Zealand and Australia condemn Japan for resuming Southern Ocean whaling Australian man breaks world record by decorating Christmas tree with 520,000 lights Does Europe need US-style bureau to tackle gun problems? Irate truck driver films himself swerving towards group of migrants in France Chicago police union stands by officer charged with murdering teen

Taliban suicide bombers have attacked a joint US-Afghan air base in eastern Afghanistan, detonating explosives at the gate and sparking a gunbattle that lasted at least two hours with American helicopters firing down on the militants.

The attackers and at least five Afghans were killed, officials said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault.

It was the largest attack on the Jalalabad air base since February, when a suicide car bombing at the gate triggered an explosion that killed nine Afghans, six of them civilians.

In Sunday's attack, two vehicles packed with explosives barreled toward the main gate of the base around 6am local time (2.30pm Sunday, NZ time). The first vehicle, a four-wheel-drive car, blew up at the gate, said Hazrat Hussain Mashreqiwal, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. Guards started shooting at the second vehicle before it too exploded, he added. It was unclear whether the explosives were detonated by the attackers themselves or by shooting from the guards.

Two Afghan students from a private medical school were caught up in the attack and killed, as were three other Afghans working at the base, Mashreqiwal said. He did not know whether the base workers were private guards, members of the security forces or civilian employees.

Nine attackers took part in the assault in total, he said, three of whom were killed in the suicide blasts and another six gunmen who died in the ensuing fighting that lasted a few hours.

Maj. Martyn Crighton, a spokesman for the international military force in Afghanistan, said that helicopters "were deployed and used."

The Nato military coalition described the attack as a failure.

"We can confirm insurgents, including multiple suicide bombers, attacked Jalalabad Airfield this morning. None of the attackers succeeded in breaching the perimeter," Lieutenant Colonel Hagen Messer, a spokesman for the international military coalition, said in an email.

He said that the fighting had ended by midmorning and that reports showed one member of the Afghan security forces was killed. Several foreign troops were wounded, but Messer did not give any numbers or details.

"The final assessment of what happened this morning is not yet complete, but initial reports indicate there were three suicide bombers," Messer said.

In the south, meanwhile, a NATO service member was killed in an insurgent attack, the international coalition said in a statement. It did not provide further details.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content