A major U.S. base in Afghanistan came under attack on Sunday by suicide bombers who detonated bombs and fired rockets, killing five people in a daring operation which highlighted the country’s security challenges ahead of the 2014 NATO troops pull-out.
According to local police officials, bodies in Afghan police and military uniforms were scattered around the entrance of the airfield in the eastern city of Jalalabad after a two-hour battle. The Taliban, through a spokesman claimed responsibility for the 6am attack.
The Taliban, who have been fighting U.S.-led NATO troops and Afghan forces sometimes dress in uniforms for attacks.
Two suicide bombers died after blowing themselves up in cars, said Nasir Ahmad Safi, a spokesman for the provincial government.
Seven other bombers were killed in the gun battle with Afghan and coalition forces. Three Afghan soldiers and two civilians also died, Safi said.
“Multiple suicide bombers were involved,” said Major Martyn Crighton, a spokesman for the U.S-led International Security Assistance Force. “This is in addition to several coalition troops being wounded.”
The United States and Afghan governments are scrambling to stabilize Afghanistan before most NATO troops withdraw at the end of 2014 and hand over security to Afghan forces.
However, some Afghans do not believe that the government security forces will be able to defend the country against any Taliban attempts to seize power again in the absence of foreign troops. Some even fear that a civil war could erupt.
But the government led by President Hamid Karzai says that Afghan security forces have made good progress.