Suicide bomber kills 1 near Afghan-NATO outpost

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2011 10:15 AM
Suicide bomber kills 1 near Afghan-NATO outpost

A suicide bomber blew up a truck full of explosives outside a joint Afghan-NATO combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, killing one Afghan civilian and wounding dozens of other people, officials said.

The bomber tried to enter Combat Outpost McClain in Mohammad Agha district of Logar province, said Gen. Ghulam Saki Rooghlawanay, the provincial police chief.

When the bomber was not allowed onto the base, he drove his vehicle toward a group of buildings that included government offices, a clinic and a youth center and detonated it, Rooghlawanay said.

"It was a very powerful explosion," he said. "It was a semitrailer with explosives."

An Afghan carpenter who was working at the base was killed, said Dr. Mohammad Zaref Nayebkhail, health director in the province.

Eighty-four people were wounded, but most of them were nearby residents who were lightly hurt by shards of glass and other debris, he said. Twelve people were wounded closer to the explosion, including six who were transferred to Kabul for treatment of serious injuries.

Three Afghan soldiers and two Afghan intelligence employees were among those wounded.

The explosion damaged a wall of the base, destroyed four houses and nearly demolished a health clinic, youth center and building housing the humanitarian organization CARE International, Nayebkhail said.

There were no students in the youth center because Friday is part of the Afghan weekend.

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"We were very lucky," said provincial Governor Atiqullah Ludin.

NATO confirmed that an explosion occurred near the entrance to the base and said the truck never penetrated security protecting the installation. No NATO service members were injured or killed in the attack.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The insurgent group posted a message on its website claiming that a bomb made with 14 tons of explosives leveled a U.S. military base and killed dozens of troops. The Taliban often exaggerate the death toll and damage caused by their attacks.