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Central & South Asia
Afghan Taliban attack Khost army base
At least 14 Taliban fighters killed during suicide attack in the border city of Khost in eastern Afghanistan.
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2012 20:21

NATO and Afghan forces have killed at least 14 Taliban fighters during an attack on a foreign military base in the eastern city of Khost, the coalition said, in one of the heaviest rebel tolls in a single incident in weeks.

Several fighters, including some wearing suicide vests, attacked the base with rocket propelled grenades on Friday.

"As of now, we have reports of 14 insurgents killed," a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said.

He said the attack on the forward operating base had been foiled, although he was not in a position to provide operational details. There were no casualties among either NATO or Afghan forces.

The province of Khost on the border with Pakistan is a stronghold of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network which the US says is behind a string of bombings in Kabul as well as attacks on foreign forces in the countryside.

The Afghan Taliban said its fighters rammed a vehicle packed with large amounts of explosives into the base. A blast was heard and smoke was rising near the facility, a Reuters news agency witness and nearby residents said earlier.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said several fighters armed with heavy weapons went inside the base after the blast.

Violence has surged across Afghanistan since the Taliban began its yearly summer offensive in April, vowing to target Afghan government and security forces, as well as the 130,000 foreign troops in the country.

The last big rebel toll was in April when 35 fighters were killed after the Taliban launched attacks in Kabul and other areas in what they claimed was the start of the spring offensive. The US blamed the Haqqani network for those attacks.

Ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops in 2014, NATO and Afghan forces are increasingly focused on the east, where fighters take advantage of the steep, often forested terrain and the Pakistani border to launch attacks and then slip beyond the reach of NATO and Afghan troops.

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