Burkha-clad insurgents attack Kabul base, both killed

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 02, 2011 1:51 AM
Burkha-clad insurgents attack Kabul base, both killed

KABUL (Reuters) - Insurgents clad in burkhas attacked a coalition base in Kabul with guns and rocket-propelled grenades on Saturday, but were killed either when they detonated their explosives or by Afghan or coalition fire outside the entrance, NATO and police said.

Three "friendly forces" -- NATO or Afghan troops -- were lightly wounded in the assault on Camp Phoenix, a large base near the capital's airport, but no civilians or soldiers were killed.

The assault was launched a day after protesters enraged by the burning of a Koran by an obscure U.S. pastor over-ran a U.N. compound and killed at least seven international staff in the worst-ever attack on the United Nations in Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the latest attack on Camp Phoenix. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said seven attackers had targeted the base, but the group often exaggerates its operations.

Kabul Police Chief Ayoubi Salangi said three suicide bombers wearing burkhas attacked the camp. Two blew themselves up at the door and one was killed by security guards.

A spokesman for NATO-led forces said there were two insurgent attackers, and only one was a possible suicide bomber. Eyewitnesses said they heard at least two explosions.

"I was passing by on my bike when there were two blasts, and gunfire stated. There was a big cloud of dust in the air and I ran away," Farad, a young man in shirt and jeans, told Reuters.

The body of one attacker was still lying in the dust outside the gate hours after the early morning attack. Police had cordoned off the road around the base.

Camp Phoenix, which lies on the busy road to the eastern city of Jalalabad, has undergone previous attacks, including in late 2009 when a car bomb there wounded 9 NATO soldiers.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi, writing by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Ron Popeski)