South Asia

Ten die in Afghanistan army base bomb

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Five foreign and five Afghan troops have died in an attack in eastern Afghanistan, officials say.

A Taliban suicide bomber wearing a military uniform hit an Afghan army base near the city of Jalalabad, the Afghan defence ministry said.

Coalition officials said five foreign troops died but gave no more details. Four Afghan soldiers and four translators were said to be injured.

The attack was one of the deadliest in months against foreign troops.

It took place shortly after 0730 (0330 GMT) when the bomber approached the gate of the military base and detonated his explosives.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, adding that the attacker was a "sleeper agent" who had served in the army for at least one month before launching his attack.

"Today, when there was a meeting going on between Afghan and foreign soldiers, he used the opportunity to carry out the attack," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an email, the Associated Press news agency.

However, Afghan officials strongly denied that suggestion, insisting that the bomber was wearing a military uniform but not a serving soldier.

Spate of attacks

Coalition officials in Afghanistan confirmed that foreign troops had died on Saturday but did not specify the nationalities of those killed. None of the dead is believed to be British.

"Five International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) service members died following an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan today," a statement said.

The attack was the third in recent days blamed on Taliban rebels.

The first killed a tribal elder closely connected to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, while on Friday the police chief of the southern province of Kandahar was killed.

Khan Mohammad Mujahid - a former mujahideen fighter - had survived two previous attempts on his life, one on his way home and another in his motorcade.

In the two most recent incidents, the attacker was wearing an official Afghan uniform.

Despite a sales ban put in place to reduce the number of attacks, Afghan army and police uniforms are widely available throughout the country.


There are currently more than 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan, some 100,000 of them American.

The US has around 90,000 troops with Isaf and some 10,000 more deployed as part of the Operation Enduring Freedom.

The UK currently contributes the second largest number of troops to the Afghan mission, with some 9,500 personnel.

The US is planning to begin pulling its troops out of Afghanistan in July, a deadline set early in his presidency by Barack Obama.

Responsibility for security in Afghanistan will then begin to transfer to Afghan forces, mainly the army and police.

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