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Taliban launch brazen strike on NATO base

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by MziziMkavu, May 19, 2010.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    May 19, 2010
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    U.S. military: 10 insurgents die in predawn attack outside of Afghan capital

    [​IMG]U.S. soldiers and Afghan policemen stand guard on a road leading to the U.S. air base in Bagram, on Wednesday.

    KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgents carrying rockets and grenades launched a brazen pre-dawn attack on a giant U.S.-run base north of Afghanistan's capital on Wednesday, leaving at least 10 guerrillas dead and 7 foreign troops wounded. The attack on Bagram air base, about an hour's drive north of Kabul, continued into daylight with sporadic fire of rockets and small arms outside. One rocket landed inside the base, causing minor damage, but no insurgents managed to get inside Bagram, according to NATO.
    Helicopter gunships hovered above Bagram, the main base for the U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan with the largest airfield in the country. It was used by the former Soviet Union during its invasion of the country in the 1980s.

    The assault started when security personnel noticed one of the attackers wearing a suicide vest in a car outside the base, NBC News Correspondent Tom Aspell in Kabul reported.
    "It looks like (the attackers) were trying to crash in through one of the main gates," he said.
    Afghan troops killed seven of the estimated 20 militants, Aspell said, and the assault was over by midday.
    Taliban offensive
    The Bagram attack came one day after a suicide bomber struck a U.S. convoy in Kabul, killing 18 people. The Kabul dead included five American troops and a Canadian.
    The back-to-back strikes appeared part of a Taliban offensive that the insurgents announced earlier this month — even as the U.S. and its partners prepare for a major operation to restore order in the turbulent south. The insurgent attacks against both the capital and a major American military installation show the militants are prepared to strike at the heart of the U.S.-led mission.
    At least 10 insurgents were killed in the attack, which started at about 3 a.m. with rockets, small arms and grenades fired into the base, said Maj. Virginia McCabe, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces at Bagram. Seven U.S. service members have been wounded, she said.
    Kabul suicide bomb kills 18
    May 18: A Taliban suicide car bomber attacked a NATO-led military convoy during rush hour in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, killing 12 Afghan civilians and at least six NATO troops.
    Nightly News

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Bagram strike. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said 20 suicide attackers carried out the attack.
    An Afghan provincial police commander, Gen. Abdul Rahman Sayedkhail, said the attack began when U.S. guards spotted would-be attackers in a car just outside the base. The Americans opened fire, triggering a gunbattle in which at least one militant triggered his suicide vest. Running gunbattles broke out as U.S. troops hunted down the other attackers.
    In February 2007, a suicide bombing killed more than 20 people at a Bagram security gate while Vice President Dick Cheney was inside. Cheney was unhurt but the Taliban said he was the target.
    Deadly day for U.S.
    The Bagram assault followed the deadliest day of the year for U.S. forces in Afghanistan with seven Americans dead — including two who died in separate attacks in the south. The dead in the Kabul attack included Canadian Col. Geoff Parker, 42, the highest-ranking member of the Canadian Forces to die in Afghanistan since the Canadian mission began in 2002, the country's military said.

    Twelve Afghan civilians also died in the Monday blast — many of them on a public bus in rush-hour traffic along a major thoroughfare that runs by the ruins of a one-time royal palace and government ministries. At least 47 people were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.
    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kabul blast, the first major attack in the Afghan capital since February, telling The Associated Press in a telephone call that the bomber was a man from the capital and that the vehicle was packed with 1,650 pounds of explosives.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai joined the U.S. and NATO in condemning the attack, which he said killed women and children.
    ‘Bodies were everywhere’
    The explosion, which thundered across the capital, happened about 8 a.m. as streets were packed with cars, buses and trucks. The bomb ripped apart vehicles and hurled body parts along the street. U.S. and Afghan forces blocked off the area as emergency workers loaded the wounded into ambulances.
    "I saw one person lying on the ground with no head," said Mirza Mohammad, who was on his way to work when the blast took place. Police officer Wahidullah, who goes by one name, said he saw the body of a woman in a pale blue burqa smashed up against the window of the bus.
    "Dead bodies were everywhere," Wahidullah said.
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    Taliban launch brazen strike on NATO base - Afghanistan- msnbc.com