Al Jazeera – 2012-12-02 01:43:13
(December 2, 2012) — The Taliban have launched a major suicide attack against a NATO base at an Afghan city airport, killing three Afghan guards and wounding several foreign troops, officials said.
The Taliban claimed suicide bombers had entered the airport at Jalalabad, near the eastern border with Pakistan early Sunday, detonating explosives at the gate and sparking a gunbattle that lasted at least two hours.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has confirmed to Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith in Kabul that “multiple explosions” had occurred outside the Jalalabad airbase, and that “at least three large explosions were heard”.
A spokesperson for ISAF told the AFP news agency that “none of the attackers succeeded breaching the perimetre”.
The attackers reportedly used suicide car bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms fire in their assault.
The airport complex has multiple layers of security, with the NATO base set well back from the first entrance, which an Afghan official said had been breached.
An Afghan security official told the AFP he had seen five dead men in Afghan army uniform, but it was unclear whether they were soldiers or Taliban attackers.
The Taliban said their suicide bombers had entered the airport, and an Afghan government official confirmed that clashes had taken place within the airport complex.
“First a fedayee [suicide bomber] mujahid… detonated a car bomb causing the enemy heavy casualties and losses and removed all the barriers,” the Taliban said on their website.
“After the attack other fedayee mujahids entered the base… and started attacking the invading forces in the base.”
A guard said that after the initial huge explosion the airport had come under fire from rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms.
The Taliban have waged an 11-year uprising against the Afghan government, which is backed by 100,000 NATO troops, since being overthrown in a US-led invasion for harbouring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The airport has come under attack on two previous occasions this year.
On February 27, six civilians, an Afghan soldier and two local guards were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on the military base at Jalalabad airport, but NATO troops escaped unhurt.
The airport also came under attack on April 15, when the Taliban launched their spring offensive with a series of commando-style assaults across Afghanistan.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.