A Taliban suicide car bombing has hit a US-run base in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least three Afghans and wounding seven others.
Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the attack on Wednesday was a suicide car bombing and happened near the entrance of Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, a Taliban flashpoint that borders Pakistan.
“Three Afghan nationals are killed and seven Afghan nationals are wounded. We have no report of coalition casualties right now,” said Major Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The blast was so powerful that it rattled the windows of buildings in the city, some four kilometres away, an AFP journalist said.
In December 2009 an al-Qaeda triple agent blew himself up at FOB Chapman, killing seven CIA agents and his Jordanian handler, the deadliest attack on the US intelligence agency since 1983.
The Taliban, which has waged a bloody insurgency against foreign and Afghan government forces for the past 11 years since being ousted from power in an invasion led by the US, claimed Wednesday’s attack.
“The attack was carried out by a mujahid named Omar from Khost who knew the area very well,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told AFP by email.
He said the attacker “detonated a car bomb while American invading forces were searching visitors going to the base”. In August 2010, 24 Taliban militants, some wearing US uniforms, were killed when they tried to storm Camp Chapman and another nearby US base, Camp Salerno, which was also the target of a suicide truck bombing in June this year.
Khost is one of the most volatile parts of Afghanistan, sharing a porous border with Pakistan’s tribal belt, which lies outside government control, and where US officials say the Taliban and al-Qaeda have carved out rear bases for operations in Afghanistan.