Taliban suicide bombers hit a joint U.S.-Afghan airbase in eastern Afghanistan early today, with eight suicide attackers involved in the assault on the base located in Jalalabad.
The eight attackers were all killed in the attack, as was one member of the Afghan security forces, the BBC reports. A NATO spokesman said the assault failed because the attackers did not get into the base. However, the militants managed to reach the base’s perimeter, troubling because there are checkpoints on the way in.
1. The Base Has Been Attacked Before
The base, used by U.S. and NATO forces, has come under attack before, with nine people killed in a similar attack back in February.
2. It Was a Coordinated Attack
The first four attackers arrived in cars filled with explosives, targeting different entrances to the airfield, while others who followed on foot battled security guards.
3. They Had Powerful Explosives
While the attackers didn’t get inside the base, that doesn’t mean they didn’t cause any damages. The force of their vehicles exploding reportedly blew out windows nearly a mile away.
4. Three Bombs Were Detonated
Insurgents detonated the first car bomb near the front gate of the base, reports CNN. A second suicide car bomb, attempting to breach te base, exploded when U.S. and Afghan troops opened fire. Meanwhile, a third car bomb was detonated outside the base’s perimeter.
Afghan National Army and International Security Assistance Force soldiers repelled the attack and prevented any insurgent fighters from entering the perimeter, causing numerous insurgent casualties in the process.
5. Troops Were Injured in the Attack
While only one of the Afghan/NATO forces, the member of the security forces, was killed, a NATO spokesman said several Afghan and NATO troops were wounded.
6. The Taliban Has Already Taken Responsibility
The Taliban admits it carried out the attack, launching it at about 6 a.m. local time in Afghanistan. Altogether, three suicide bombers and six gunmen were killed in the blasts and the firefight.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said there were two suicide car bombs and a suicide bomber with an explosive belt used in the attack, which he claimed killed at least 20 people.
7. The Attackers Faced a Fierce Defense
Local residents to the BBC that helicopters fired on the insurgents in a battle that lasted maybe 20 minutes. Police in Jalalabad told Reuters there were bodies, dressed in Afghan police and military uniforms scattered around the entrance to the base, but it was unclear whether they were Taliban attackers in disguise.
8. The Attackers Wore NATO Uniforms
A Taliban spokesperson said the attackers detonated a car bomb at the base’s entrance before the second group of attackers, wearing NATO uniforms, like the ones worn by actual soldiers above, were sent in. It was then that NATO forces responded with helicopters, and NATO and Afghan officials said the attackers didn’t get into the base itself.
9. Battles Like This Have Gone on for Years
Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan have battled NATO and Afghan troops for the past 11 years, and the Taliban still controls parts of the eastern and southern parts of the country.
10. NATO is Getting Ready to Pull Out of Afghanistan
NATO has about 130,000 troops in the war-scarred country, but plans to withdraw combat forces there by the end of 2014, leaving behind only troops to train Afghan soldiers and peacekeepers.