AFP, December 2, 2011
Bomb at Afghan NATO base kills one, wounds up to 70
But Logar's health director, Mohammad Zarif Nayebkhail, told AFP up to 70 people from the surrounding area were taken to hospital with injuries from shrapnel or flying glass
PUL-I-ALAM, Afghanistan — A powerful truck bomb exploded near the gate of a NATO base in Afghanistan Friday, killing one person and wounding as many as 70 others, including a foreign soldier, officials said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide attack at Combat Outpost McClain in Muhammad Agha district of Logar province, south of the capital Kabul, which took place at around 8:00am (0330 GMT).
The blast outside the small base could be heard for several kilometres (miles), an AFP reporter in the area said, and was described as "huge" by local police chief.
Logar provincial governor Atiqullah Ludin said an Afghan carpenter who had just entered the camp through the gate was killed in the attack, while seven others -- five police and two intelligence officials -- were wounded.
The US army's forward operating base in Logar province. A powerful suicide truck bomb exploded near the entrance to a NATO base in Logar province, Afghanistan. (Photo: US Army)
But Logar's health director, Mohammad Zarif Nayebkhail, told AFP up to 70 people from the surrounding area were taken to hospital with injuries from shrapnel or flying glass.
"Up to 70 wounded have been taken to the main hospital in the district -- seven of them are (Afghan) security guards of NATO, the rest are civilians," he said. "Several of the wounded were in a serious condition."
NATO's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that one coalition soldier was wounded.
ISAF said none of its troops were killed and it is not thought the blast breached the base's perimeter.
Logar's deputy police chief Mohammad Abed described the explosion as "huge", adding it had destroyed some homes nearby.
"The suicide attacker wanted to ram his explosive-laden vehicle into the coalition forces base but he was stopped at the gate and detonated the truck outside the base," he said.
In September, 77 US troops were wounded in a truck bombing which targeted a NATO base in Wardak province, which neighbours Logar.
US officials blamed that attack on the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taliban faction whose leaders are based in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt.
Civilians are increasingly caught up in the Afghan war.
The United Nations says civilian deaths in the first half of this year rose by 15 percent to 1,462, with insurgents responsible for 80 percent.
There are currently 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan fighting a decade-long, Taliban-led insurgency alongside Afghan government forces.
Foreign combat troops are due to leave by the end of 2014 but a substantial presence is expected to remain to train Afghan security forces.
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