KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — An Afghan interpreter was killed and eight other people wounded in a Taliban attack on a US-run base in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, NATO said Friday.
Four attackers were killed in the assault on the civilian-military base housing the local provincial reconstruction team in what was the Taliban capital before the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the militia from power.
Armed with guns, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, the attackers opened fire from an empty building near the compound.
"One American civilian contractor and two Afghan security guards were injured, one Afghan interpreter was killed, and five ISAF service members were slightly wounded as a result of the attack," the military said.
In keeping with policy, it did not announce the nationalities of the wounded troops from NATO's International Security Assistance Force, but the base is run by the American military.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took around four hours to repel, saying the gunmen were armed with suicide vests.
The Taliban frequently carry out coordinated attacks on high-profile Western and government targets as part of their nearly 10-year insurgency.
Senior officials, including provincial governor Tooryalai Wesa, provincial police chief Abdul Raziq, and the deputy director of the Afghan intelligence agency were at the base for a meeting at the time of the attack, said a police official on condition of anonymity.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi had told AFP by telephone during the attack that the governor was on the base and was one of the targets.
"There was no attempt to breach Camp Nathan Smith," the military said, adding that two car bombs were detonated safely during the siege.
Afghan police and NATO said they had successfully thwarted the attack.
"The presence of the VBIEDs (vehicle bombs) indicate the insurgents had a plan they could not execute," said Colonel John Kolasheski, the commander of Camp Nathan Smith.
The Kandahar government said the "successful operation" showed that the Afghan police "have once again proved their capabilities".
NATO announced separately that one of its soldiers was killed in a bomb attack in the south on Friday, without specifying where or their nationality.
According to the independent icasualties.org website, at least 497 foreign soldiers have died in the war so far this year, compared to 711 in 2011.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »