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Attackers killed in US base raid

Militants have attacked a US base in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, leading to multiple explosions, a gunfight and the closure of a key road used by Nato supply trucks, officials said.

Several vehicles belonging to US-led forces were torched or otherwise damaged, and three alleged attackers were killed, but the main section of the base was not breached.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the strike in the Torkham area, the latest in a surge of attacks in Afghanistan as US-led foreign troops reduce their presence en route to a full withdrawal by the end of next year. Militants frequently target Nato's supply lines in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In a brief statement, Nato confirmed "a series of explosions" in the area but said none of its personnel were killed. No members of the Afghan security forces or civilians were killed or wounded, according to Esa Khan Zwak, chief administrator in Mohmandara district, in which the base is located.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said several militants wearing suicide vests and carrying other weapons staged the attack, and that Afghan and US forces exchanged gunfire with the insurgents. Nato helicopters joined the fight, he added.

The encounter began at around 6.30am local time and lasted three and a half hours, said Masoum Khan Hashimi, deputy provincial police chief in Nangarhar province. Afghan security forces trying to clear the area were still in the process of defusing a bomb in a car. At least one car bomb was also successfully detonated in the attack, Mr Hashimi said.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw three bodies of suspected attackers - apparently shot dead from the Nato helicopters. The suspected insurgents did not manage to enter the main base area, but had tried to hide under a small canal bridge near it.

The highway between Jalalabad city and Torkham, an important route for Nato supply trucks, was closed, Mr Abdulzai said.

Militants on both sides of the Afghan border have frequently targeted the supply line, leading Nato to shift much of its supply delivery towards routes from Central Asian states instead of through Pakistan.

Afghan officials said a car park at the outpost was a stopping point for many types of vehicles used by US and other Nato forces. Mr Hashimi said four US vehicles there were burned out.

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