Suicide bomber hits joint NATO-Afghan base

Attack on an army base in eastern Afghanistan has wounded at least 45 Afghan soldiers, local officials say.

    A suicide car bomb attack on a joint NATO-Afghan army base in eastern Afghanistan has wounded at least 45 Afghan soldiers, local officials said.

    The Taliban took responsibility for Wednesday's attack in the Zurmat district of Paktia province, saying they had also
    despatched a group of fighters in suicide vests who managed to enter the base.

    A spokesperson for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Taliban fighters fired at the base after the explosion. There were no NATO casualties, she added.

    Paktia, a small province about 100km south of the capital Kabul, has been beset by increasing violence over the past two years.

    Civilians wounded

    "The bomber detonated explosives right in front of a joint base shared by the Afghan army and foreign forces, wounding 45 soldiers," the deputy governor for Paktia, Gul Rahman Mangal, told the Reuters news agency.

    Seven civilians were among the wounded, hospital officials in Zurmat added.

    Violence has been increasing across the country as the deadline of end-2014 looms for most foreign combat troops to leave Afghanistan, leaving the 350,000-strong Afghan security forces in control.

    Heavy casualty rates amongst Afghan security forces - NATO says 243 Afghan soldiers and 292 policemen were killed or wounded in an average month this year - have raised concerns that their ability to tackle fighters may be dwindling along with morale.

    A senior government negotiator on Saturday denied that plans by Kabul to seek peace talks with the Taliban were in deadlock, saying progress was under way.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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