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Eight killed as Afghan militants try to blast their way into Nato base

Militants set off a car bomb and stormed the entrance to a major Nato air base in eastern Afghanistan yesterday an attack that left eight insurgents dead.

The Taliban said it was behind the attack, the third ground assault against a major coalition base in the last five weeks. The attacks have failed to overrun the bases, but showed the Taliban has not been cowed by US efforts to ramp up the war.

Using light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, the militants battled US and Afghan forces for 30 minutes around the airport on the outskirts of Jalalabad city yesterday.

An Afghan soldier and one international service member were wounded in the fighting, Nato said.

“They were not able to breach the perimeter. They were fought off by a combination of Afghan and coalition security forces,” German army Brig Gen Josef Blotz, a spokesman for Nato, said.

The airport is on a main road that leads to the Pakistani border.

The attack follows a May 19 ground assault against the giant Bagram Air Field north of Kabul and a similar attack three days later against Kandahar Air Field in the south.

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