Suicide bombers strike near US base in Afghanistan
KABUL — Twin suicide bombings outside a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan Saturday killed 12 people and injured dozens more, including at least two Americans, according to provincial government officials.
A suicide bomber blew himself up just after 6 a.m. outside the district governor’s office in Sayed Abad district of Wardak province. The attack was followed by a massive truck bomb outside an adjacent American military base. That bomb, hidden in an oil tanker, destroyed a mosque and some local homes and shops, according to Wardak provincial government officials.
The U.S. base, Combat Outpost Sayed Abad, was the site of a truck bomb attack on Sept. 10, 2011, that injured nearly 80 U.S. troops. The district also was the site of the deadliest incident of the war for U.S. forces — the downing of a Chinook helicopter that killed 30 U.S. troops in August 2011.
Among the dead Saturday were four members of the Afghan National Police, according to officials.
Seven Afghan National Police officers, three Afghan intelligence officers and two Americans were among the 59 people injured, according to provincial government officials. The rest were civilians.
Coalition officials said there were no U.S. fatalities in the attack. Charlie Stadtlander, spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, confirmed that there were troops injured, but said it is against policy to report numbers or severity. Stadtlander said the bomber did not get inside the base, but he did not release further details.
In neighboring Ghazni province on Saturday, two U.S. servicemembers were killed in an insurgent attack, ISAF said in a release, but gave no further details of the circumstances.
The Taliban quickly claimed credit for the Wardak bombings. Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the first bomber was a distraction to help the truck ram through a checkpoint on the way to the American base.
He said there were many casualties within the base. The Taliban often exaggerate the effects of their attacks.
There have been several attacks against U.S. bases in the past year, including a truck bomb on June 1 at Camp Salerno in Khost province that killed two U.S. troops and seriously injured about 36, though U.S. officials initially denied there were any serious casualties.
As the U.S. and their coalition partners work to transition security responsibility to Afghans ahead of the 2014 deadline to withdraw foreign combat troops, such attacks threaten to undermine confidence in the Afghan security force.
Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.