Coalition servicemember killed in attack in eastern Afghanistan
By HEATH DRUZIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 4, 2014
KABUL — A coalition servicemember was killed when insurgents attacked a military base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday morning, while two separate attacks later in the day in Kabul caused no casualties, officials with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and Afghan police said.
At least six insurgents, some wearing suicide vests, died in the first incident, which occurred about 8 a.m. when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden sedan at the gate of a joint Afghan-NATO military base in volatile Nangarhar province, provincial and ISAF officials said.
ISAF officials said seven attackers were killed but would not say whether any coalition troops were injured. ISAF has not released the nationality of the servicemember killed.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a Nangarhar provincial government spokesman, said a gun battle between the insurgents and coalition and Afghan forces went on for about 40 minutes. He said that no Afghan troops were killed or injured in the attack.
The base is jointly operated by ISAF, the Afghan National Army and the Afghan Border Police, Abdulzai said.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack via Twitter. In their Twitter post, the Taliban claimed the attackers had gotten inside the base walls and killed 25 foreign troops, though the group often greatly exaggerates the effect of its actions.
Saturday’s fatality is the first ISAF combat loss of 2014. It brings to two the number of international troops who have died in Afghanistan so far this year. The first troop death of the year, on Wednesday, was due to “non-battle-related” injuries.
In the capital, two separate bomb attacks Saturday night caused no casualties, though one took occurred near a NATO base in a heavily fortified neighborhood that includes ISAF headquarters and the U.S. embassy. The other bomb was planted in a drainage ditch.
Coalition deaths have steadily fallen as Afghan troops have taken over much of the day-to-day fighting in the country, but Taliban and other insurgent groups remain entrenched.
Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.