Conflict & Justice

Suicide bombs kill 12 near NATO base in Afghanistan


US Female Marine, Gunnery Sargeant Michelle Mollen of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines Regiment, patrols in Garmser, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on March 12, 2011.


Adek Berry

At least a dozen people were killed early Saturday after two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan, reports AP. 

The dawn attacks in Wardak province killed at least nine civilians and four policeman, officials told the BBC. It's a stark reminder that even after the start of a withdrawal, U.S. and foreign troops are still waging a war that shows no signs of ending.

Government officials told AP that the first attacker blew himself up to try to eliminate the Afghan security force that was guarding the compound and clear the way for a second attack involving a fuel tanker.  

The truck bomb then exploded on a nearby road separating the compound from the NATO base. Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the bombs destroyed houses, much of a local bazaar, and left dozens wounded.

"The truck bomb was huge, killing 12 and wounding 50 more," provincial governor spokesman Sahidullah Shahid told Reuters.

"A suicide bomber on foot detonated near the gate of the base in Saidabad, Wardak province, opening the way for a truck suicide bombing that followed him," provincial spokesman Shahiddullah Shahid told the BBC. 

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said was targeting the U.S. base, reports AP. 

Violence has been building in Afghanistan ahead of a 2014 deadline for withdrawing combat troops amid fears the NATO-trained Afghan security forces will not be enough to handle insurgents once NATO troops have left.

Wardak province, about 40 miles from Kabul, has seen some of the worst of the recent violence. 

The same NATO base was targeted last year when a suicide bomber drove into it on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, killing four civilians and wounding 77 U.S. troops, reports Reuters.

NATO troops saw the worst single incident in more than a decade of war when Taliban shot down a transport helicopter in Wardak last year, killing 38 troops, 30 of whom were American, mostly elite Navy SEALs. 

Two children were reportedly beheaded this week in separate attacks in areas controlled by the Taliban.