At least three killed in US base attack in Afghanistan

FLASHPOINT::A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the car bombing, which let off an explosion so powerful it was felt several kilometers away, some witnesses said

AFP, KHOST, Afghanistan

Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - Page 6

A Taliban suicide car bombing hit a US-run base in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least three Afghans and wounding seven others, officials said.

Afghan Ministry of the Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the attack was a suicide car bombing and happened near the entrance of Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, a Taliban flashpoint that borders Pakistan.

“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.

The blast was so powerful that it rattled the windows of buildings in the city, about 4km away, a journalist said.

In December 2009, an al-Qaeda triple agent blew himself up at the base, killing seven CIA agents and his Jordanian handler in the deadliest attack on the US intelligence agency since 1983.

The Taliban, who have waged a bloody insurgency against foreign and Afghan government forces for the past 11 years since being ousted from power in an invasion led by the US, claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack.

“The attack was carried out by a mujahid named Omar from Khost who knew the area very well,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told reporters by e-mail.

He said the attacker “detonated a car bomb while American invading forces were searching visitors going to the base.”

Khost Provincial Police Chief Abdul Qayoum Baqizai said live on television 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.

Khost is one of the most volatile parts of Afghanistan and shares a porous border with Pakistan’s tribal belt, which lies outside government control, and where US officials say the Taliban and al-Qaeda have carved out rear bases for operations in Afghanistan.