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Militants attack US Afghan base

Militants have tried to blast their way into an American base in eastern Afghanistan, striking before dawn with rocket-propelled grenades and a vehicle packed with explosives.

The attackers failed to breach the gate of the base in Panjshir province's Rakha district, though they did hit a security tower with a rocket-propelled grenade, said provincial police chief General Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.

Three of the men attacked on foot, shooting, while a fourth detonated the explosives-laden vehicle outside the gate, Gen Jangalbagh said. All four of the attackers were killed and two Afghan security guards were wounded, he said.

A Nato spokeswoman confirmed the attack but said there were no American deaths or injuries and no significant damage to facilities.

"There was a complex attack attempted, but it was repelled," Captain Ebony Calhoun said. She said the guards' wounds were not life-threatening but they have been evacuated to a larger US base for treatment.

Gen Jangalbagh said there was some damage to the base, but it is unclear how much. The base houses a provincial reconstruction team - a mix of military and international civilians who work to improve provincial governance, services and infrastructure.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack in Panjshir comes a day after a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan that killed three Afghan border police officers and one civilian. The bomber blew up his explosives-packed car on Friday afternoon while it was being inspected at a checkpoint.

The explosion happened in Spin Boldak, near the Pakistani border, at a checkpoint set up because of an intelligence warning that an attack was imminent, provincial government spokesman Zalmai Ayubi said.

Three Nato service members were also killed on Friday in separate attacks, according to statements from the military coalition, making 11 killed so far this month and at least 464 since the beginning of the year.

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