The Australian, February 27, 2007
Suicide bomber killed 20 people outside the main US base in Afghanistan
The suicide bombing took place at gate two where Afghan labourers were waiting
A SUICIDE bomber killed as many as 20 people outside the main US base in Afghanistan today, coinciding with a visit to the base by US Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr Cheney was not hurt, according to his spokeswoman.
"The suicide bombing took place at gate two where Afghan labourers were waiting," the Afghan Islamic Press quoted a provincial police officer as saying.
The agency quoted provincial governor Abdul Jabbar Taqwa as saying 20 people had been killed in the blast outside the Bagram air base.
The Afghan interior ministry said eighteen people, comprising fifteen Afghans and three foreign soldiers, were killed in the attack.
US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Accetta said: "There was an attack at the front gate. At this point there's not a lot of information. I can't confirm any casualties. It's now all clear."
He added there had been an all-base announcement to say "it was a red alert, the base is under direct attack."
The attack occurred inside one of the security gates surrounding the heavily guarded base north of Kabul.
Mr Cheney was in Afghanistan and had been expected to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai to offer support ahead of a feared spring offensive by Taliban militants and their Al-Qaeda allies.
"It was a suicide bombing. It took place between the main gate and the gate guarded by American soldiers," said Bagram district governor Kabir Ahmad.
"We don't have an exact figure but it's said that two have been killed and about 18 wounded."
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