Friday, December 2, 2011

AFghanistan News: Taliban suicide attack near US military installation.

Fatal Suicide Attack Outside U.S. Base in Afghanistan
Published: December 2, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber driving a truck inflicted scores of casualties outside a small American military installation on Friday and destroyed several government buildings, but failed to enter the American base, according to witnesses and Afghan officials.
At least 84 people were wounded and one killed in the attack, which took place 25 miles from the capital, in Mohammad Agha District, Logar Province, according to Mohammad Zarif Maidkhail, the director of public health in Logar.
A spokesman for the provincial governor said that details were still incomplete.

A NATO spokesman, Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, confirmed there was a vehicle-borne bomb attack against Combat Outpost McClain in that district. “It was a single attack with no follow-up,” he said. “There were no ISAF fatalities. We are still in the process of gathering more information to develop the situation and will release more information as appropriate.”

The blast took place at 8 a.m. Friday at the base, which is near the main highway between the city of Kabul and southeastern Afghanistan.

Logar Province in the past two years has seen increasing infiltration from the Taliban, particularly the Haqqani group, a Taliban offshoot believed to be largely financed by Pakistan’s top military intelligence service.

An Afghan contractor working nearby at the time of the explosion said the blast appeared to have destroyed several buildings. Officials later said they included a clinic and two other buildings, one of which were the former offices of the aid group CARE, which no longer operates there.

Those buildings were clustered near the gates of an American military base, but the witness was unable to see whether there was any damage inside the base because of the large concrete blast walls surrounding it. He asked that his name be withheld for fear of retribution.

He said a police investigator at the scene told him the bomb was apparently in the trailer of a tractor-trailer truck trying to enter the base. However, a spokesman for the provincial governor said the bomb was hidden in a truck hauling firewood, and a police spokesman put the quantity of explosives at 13 tons.

The Mohammad Agha district borders Kabul Province and is the site of the huge Aynak copper mine, which Chinese officials recently won a contract to develop. The district had been relatively peaceful, a factor in the Chinese interest in Aynak.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed that the insurgents carried out the suicide attack, which he said had destroyed the American base.

Sangar Rahimi and Jawad Sukhanyar contributed reporting from Kabul, and Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

No comments:

Post a Comment