Kabul: Insurgents launched a brazen
pre-dawn assault on Wednesday against the giant US-run Bagram Air
Field, killing an American contractor and wounding nine
service members in the second Taliban strike at NATO forces in
and around the capital in as many days.
At least 10 insurgents were killed as Taliban suicide
bombers attempted to breach the defences of the base north of
Kabul, while others fired rockets and grenades inside,
according to a statement issued by US forces.
The attack started around 3 am Blasts and gunfire only
subsided around midday, said Master Sgt. Tom Clementson, a
spokesman for US forces. No insurgents managed to get into the
base and none were able to detonate their suicide vests, the
The Bagram attack came a day after a suicide bomber
struck a US convoy in Kabul, killing 18 people. The dead
included five American troops and a Canadian, making it the
deadliest attack on NATO in the Afghan capital in eight
The back-to-back attacks show the militants intent
to strike at the heart of the US-led mission, apparently part
of an offensive announced by the Taliban earlier this month _
even as NATO prepares for a major operation to restore order
in the turbulent south.
In the latest violence in the south, a NATO service
member died in a bomb attack today, the military alliance said
in a statement. It did not provide further details.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for both the Kabul
bombing and the attack at Bagram, 30 miles (50 kilometers)
north of Kabul.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said 20 suicide
attackers were involved. An Afghan provincial police
commander, Gen. Abdul Rahman Sayedkhail, said the attack began
when US guards spotted would-be attackers in a car just
outside the Bagram base. The Americans opened fire, triggering
a gunbattle in which at least one militant triggered his
suicide vest. Running gunbattles broke out as US troops hunted
down the other attackers.
Four of the killed insurgents were intended suicide
bombers, the US statement said. The base was undamaged except
for "minor" damage to one building, it added. Spokesmen had
previously said the building was not strategically important.
In February 2007, a suicide bombing killed more than
20 people at a Bagram security gate while Vice President Dick
Cheney was inside the base. Cheney was unhurt but the Taliban
said he was the target.