Published September 11, 2012
An attack on a U.S. military base killed three Afghan intelligence employees and destroyed a NATO helicopter, Afghan and coalition officials said Tuesday.
Separately, a teenage suicide bomber on Tuesday walked into a shop in western Afghanistan and blew himself up, killing five people.
The attack on Bagram Air Field, a sprawling American base north of Kabul, occurred around 10 p.m. Monday. Militants occasionally fire mortars or rockets at Bagram, but the attacks usually cause little or no damage.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the base.
"Four rounds hit," coalition spokesman Army Maj. Adam Wojack said, adding that it was unclear whether rockets or mortars landed on the base. "One of the rounds hit the helicopter and started a fire, which destroyed it."
Both Afghan and coalition forces were inside the Chinook CH47 when it was hit, he said. Wojack said the three Afghans died and an unspecified number of coalition troops were injured in the attack, but NATO policy prevented him from disclosing details about their injuries.
An Afghan government official in Parwan province where the base is located confirmed that three Afghan intelligence employees were killed. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose information to the media, said two Afghan policemen were injured in the attack.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that the rockets fired by the group's fighters killed nine Afghan intelligence workers and four Americans at the base. However, the insurgents often exaggerate the death toll of their attacks.
In an attack last month on Bagram, an insurgent rocket damaged a top U.S. general's plane that was parked on the tarmac. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack, saying they had fired rockets that landed near the C-17 transport plane, which had flown U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Bagram.
Dempsey was in his staff quarters when the rockets landed and was not hurt in the attack, but the damage to his plane forced him to use another aircraft for his ongoing flight to Iraq.
Two aircraft maintenance workers were lightly wounded by shrapnel, and a nearby helicopter was damaged.
Meanwhile, the suicide bombing Tuesday took place in Kushki Kuhna district of Herat province, said Noor Khan Nikzad, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. The province in western Afghanistan is one of the more peaceful areas of the country but it has been the scene of a rising number of attacks in recent years.
The target of the attack was Abdul Hakim, a community leader who commanded a local militia, according to Mohammad Ibrahim Kushki, the former top official in the district.
"The bomber was around 14 years old," he said. "He went to the shop, shook hands with Hakim and then blew himself up."