NATHAN HODGE: TALIBAN “INSURGENTS” IN AFGHANISTAN ATTACK COALITION BASE IN JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN
KABUL—Taliban insurgents on Sunday launched a coordinated assault on a key coalition base in eastern Afghanistan, detonating a series of car bombs in an apparent attempt to break through the perimeter of the heavily fortified installation.
The attack, which began shortly before 6 a.m. local time, started when insurgents set off three suicide car bombs outside the perimeter of Forward Operating Base Fenty, a facility adjacent to the Jalalabad airfield, according to a coalition news release. Insurgent attackers then tried to penetrate the base, but were repelled by Afghan and coalition troops, the coalition said.
“They didn’t get inside,” said U.S. Army Maj. Paul Haverstick, a spokesman for the coalition’s Regional Command-East. “It was more shock and awe than anything successful.”
Maj. Haverstick said “multiple” insurgents were killed in the attack. According to a coalition news release, one Afghan soldier was killed in the assault, and several others were wounded. The extent of other casualties wasn’t immediately clear.
Initial reports suggest that the attack was well orchestrated. A provincial police representative said the fighting had ended by midmorning, but said that there were as many as eight large explosions close to the main gate of the base.
In a statement posted online, a Taliban spokesman said the assault started after a “martyrdom seeker” named Siddiquallah detonated an explosives-packed sports-utility vehicle near one of the gates of the base. The statement said a second group of six insurgents wearing U.S. uniforms then entered the base in a vehicle.
All six of the fighters were “rewarded with martyrdom,” the statement added.
The Taliban frequently make inflated claims about casualties inflicted in their attacks, and often post videos online to boost propaganda for their operations. But in September, a group of Taliban attackers in U.S. uniforms staged an audacious raid on Camp Bastion, a massive coalition base in Helmand province. That attack led to the destruction of six Marine Corps fighter jets, the largest loss of U.S. combat aircraft in a single day since the Vietnam War, and killed the Marine colonel commanding the Harrier jet squadron.
Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, has also seen an uptick in insurgent violence and criminal activity in recent months. In April, insurgents launched coordinated attacks on FOB Fenty and nearby FOB Finley-Shields, the headquarters for a coalition Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Afghan and coalition troops repulsed the attackers in both cases, but insurgents at the time managed to get inside FOB Finley-Shields, sparking a lengthy gunfight and a massive fire that destroyed several buildings.
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