Suicide bombers kill 5 in Afghanistan
By The Washington Post
Published: Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 8:42 p.m.
KABUL, Afghanistan — A squad of nine suicide bombers attacked a major U.S.-Afghan air base in the eastern city of Jalalabad just after dawn Sunday, exploding bombs at the front gate and sparking a lengthy firefight with both Afghan and NATO forces inside.
Officials said the attackers killed at least five people before being either shot or blown up by their own explosives. As the battle raged, American assault helicopters fired from overhead. Three Afghan security force members and two civilians died, officials said.
An American spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, said three foreign troops were wounded.
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which was reminiscent of a frontal assault on the base in February, when a suicide bombing left nine Afghans dead. The base, located at a former commercial and military airfield, is a major transport center for the U.S. military in eastern Afghanistan.
One Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said in a message that “a number of our devotees” attacked the base and “brought heavy casualties to the enemy.”
A second spokesman, Abdul Balkhi, sent out a series of tweets Sunday that described the attack in great detail. He said two different groups of Taliban had staged it, including six who were wearing U.S. military uniforms and who drove onto the base in a vehicle that they then detonated.
Balkhi said a second group had shot a number of foreign troops in a two-hour fight before being “rewarded with martyrdom.” He said that two “enemy aircraft” had been destroyed and that much of the base had been “engulfed in flames.”
This triumphant version of events was partially contradicted by a series of competing tweets and emails from ISAF spokesmen, who portrayed the assault as far less successful.
Lt. Col. Hagen Messner confirmed that the airfield had been attacked at 6 a.m, but he stated that “no insurgents breached the perimeter.” Messner also confirmed that U.S. helicopters were deployed to defend the base, which ISAF officials said was secured soon after the firefight ended.
An official communique from the provincial governor's office in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, said two suicide vehicles had attacked the front gate of the base, followed by three suicide bombers who tried to detonate their explosives but were shot dead by ISAF and Afghan forces.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nukes an ‘equalizer’ to conventional U.S. attacks
- Sign-language ‘interpreter’ pulls off fraud on world stage
- Indian court upholds anti-gay law
- Chinese drink pesticide in protest
- U.S. suspends nonlethal aid to Syrian opposition
- Legendary French piano maker shuts doors after 206 years
- Syrian opposition activist goes missing
- Egypt strikes a perilous repose
- American teacher shot dead in Benghazi
- Suspected attack leader still ‘free’
- mexico Carjackers likely to die …