Taliban insurgents detonated a truck bomb,then tried to storm a NATO base Friday in eastern Afghanistan,but coalition forces repelled the attack,killing 14 militants,officials said.
No foreign or Afghan troops were killed,according to NATO,but the attack showed the fundamentalist Islamic movement remains a resilient force even as Afghan President Hamid Karzai insists they do not have the means to retake the nation after foreign forces leave.
In the past two years,the US-led coalition has sent tens of thousands of troops into Taliban strongholds in the south and has largely succeeded in boosting security there. The Taliban have responded by opening up new fronts in the north and west and stepping up attacks in the east,where much of the heaviest fighting is presently concentrated.
NATO plans to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and turn security over to local forces. If security allows,Karzai said foreign forces could pull out earlier.
We will not ask them to leave early, Karzai told Time magazine on May 13. If everything is done in time and they want to leave early,we will welcome it.
His office released a transcript of the wide-ranging interview on Friday. It did not bring the defeat of terrorism as we thought it would, he said. It did not fight the war on terrorism in a manner that we felt was right… But the American presence did bring an overall stability to Afghanistan,which is very important.
Provincial police chief Gen. Sardar Mohammad Zazai said the blast occurred at a coalition base about five km outside Khost. The Taliban claimed responsibility. It was a very strong blast. Khost city shook and we heard firing,Zazai said. Gula Jan,an Afghan police official,said the attack occurred at Camp Salerno. Jan said six civilians,three women and three children,were wounded.