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At least 25 soldiers wounded as car bomb hits Afghan-coalition base

English.news.cn   2012-10-17 14:10:27            

GARDEZ, Afghanistan, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- At least 25 Afghan army soldiers were wounded Wednesday morning in a car bomb attack and ensuing gunfight at a joint military base of Afghan and NATO- led coalition forces in Zurmat district of eastern Paktia province, a provincial official said.

"According to the initial reports by our security forces, a suicide car bomb hit a joint military base -- Combat Outpost Zurmat at about 7:30 a.m. local time, leaving 25 army soldiers wounded," deputy provincial governor Abdul Rahman Mangal told Xinhua.

"The compound is secured, the assessment is ongoing," Maj. Adam Wojack, a spokesman with the coalition or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told Xinhua, without commenting whether any coalition members were wounded in the attack.

"According to current operational reporting, the attack resulted in several ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) casualties. (The) ISAF and Afghan officials are still gathering information and will release more details as appropriate," he said.

"We can confirm that this morning, a joint ISAF/ANSF combat outpost in Zurmat district, Paktia province was attacked by insurgents using a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (IED) and indirect fire," Wojack said.

The suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden truck into the wall of the base seriously damaging the compound and leaving casualties, a provincial police official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

A provincial government spokesman told Xinhua that a number of gunmen wearing suicide bomb vests tried to enter the compound after the explosion but were killed in shootout in the province 100 km south of Afghan capital Kabul.

In addition, a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack. Mujahid told local media that Taliban militants are fighting with Afghan and foreign forces and the blast inflicted huge casualties on the security forces.

The Taliban launched a coordinated attack against a coalition base in southern Helmand province on Sept. 14, sparking a fierce fighting for hours that left two U.S. Marine and 14 Taliban dead.

They destroyed six coalition jets besides damaging two other jets and several installations in the province 555 km south of Kabul.

Editor: znz
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