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Taliban killed in attack on base

Taliban insurgents detonated a truck bomb, then tried to storm a Nato base in eastern Afghanistan, but coalition forces repelled the attack, killing 14 militants, officials have said.

No foreign or Afghan troops were killed, according to Nato, but the attack showed the fundamentalist Islamic movement remains a resilient force even as Afghan President Hamid Karzai insists they do not have the means to retake the nation after foreign forces leave.

In the past two years, the US-led coalition has sent tens of thousands of troops into Taliban strongholds in the south and has largely succeeded in boosting security there.

The Taliban have responded by opening up new fronts in the north and west and stepping up attacks in the east, where much of the heaviest fighting is presently concentrated.

Nato plans to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and turn security over to local forces.

The blast occurred at a coalition base about five kilometres (three miles) outside Khost. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police said the attack occurred at Camp Salerno and six civilians - three women and three children - were slightly wounded. Nato said it had no reports of any civilians being hurt.

US Army Major. Paul Haverstick, a spokesman for the coalition, said no Afghan or foreign troops were killed and only a few coalition forces suffered minor injuries.

He said insurgents detonated a truck loaded with explosives at the entrance to the camp. The explosion allowed other insurgents to enter the compound. Two militants wearing explosive vests blew themselves up prematurely and caused no damage. Afghan and coalition forces fired at the group of insurgents. A total of 14 militants died in the attack, he said.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed that a suicide bomber targeted the base in an explosives-filled vehicle that slipped onto the compound near where coalition troops dine. He said in a statement that after the blast, other insurgents entered the compound on foot and opened fire. He claimed that an aeroplane on an airstrip at the base was destroyed and that "tens" of foreign forces were killed and wounded.


From Belfast Telegraph