Afghan militants attack US base: official

Published September 2, 2013
Afghan policemen stand at the site of a blast in Jalalabad province September 1, 2013. — Photo by Reuters
Afghan policemen stand at the site of a blast in Jalalabad province September 1, 2013. — Photo by Reuters
A vehicle burns at the site of a blast in Jalalabad province September 1, 2013. — Photo by Reuters
A vehicle burns at the site of a blast in Jalalabad province September 1, 2013. — Photo by Reuters
Afghan security forces investigate the scene of an explosion in front of Governor House in Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept 1, 2013. — Photo by AP
Afghan security forces investigate the scene of an explosion in front of Governor House in Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept 1, 2013. — Photo by AP

KABUL: A group of suicide bombers attacked a US base in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan on Monday morning, leading to multiple explosions, a gunfight and the closure of a key road used by Nato supply trucks, officials said.

Multiple vehicles belonging to US-led forces were torched, according to an Afghan official.

In an e-mail sent to the media, the Islamic Emirate Mujahideen claimed that it had carried out substantial damage after attacking the US military base.

“Operation Khalid bin Walid was conducted by a group of three martyrdom seeking Mujahideen, Muhammad Yasin from Nangarhar, Abdur Rahman from Kunar and Farooq Jan from Kandahar province stormed the huge base early this morning and after breaching the main base, engaged in head-on fight the with the enemy forces that lasted for about five hours.

"The mujahideen destroyed as many as 154 armoured personnel carriers, 12 mine clearing tanks, 85 trailer trucks and 9 container trucks filled with important and advanced military gears and arms,” the e-mail statement claimed.

The group also claimed to have killed and injured some 13 soldiers.

In a statement, Nato confirmed ''a series of explosions'' in the area but said none of its personnel were killed. The military alliance does not release information on wounded troops. No members of the Afghan security forces or civilians were killed or wounded, according to Esa Khan Zwak, chief administrator in Mohmandara district in which the base is located.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said several militants wearing suicide vests and carrying other weapons staged the attack, and that Afghan and US forces were exchanging gunfire with the insurgents. Nato helicopters were flying over the base, he added.

The highway between Jalalabad city and Torkham, an important route for Nato supply trucks, has been closed, Abdulzai said. Militants on both sides of the Afghan border have frequently targeted the supply line, leading Nato to shift much of its supply delivery toward routes from Central Asian states instead of through Pakistan.

Afghan officials say the base was a stopping point for many types of vehicles used by US and other Nato forces. Masoum Khan Hashimi, deputy provincial police chief in Nangarhar, said several of the vehicles had been set ablaze and that firefighting trucks were sent to help try to douse the flames.

In an emailed statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgent group was behind Monday morning's attack, and claimed it had destroyed several tanks in the process, an assertion that could not be confirmed.

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