, GHAZNI, Aug 28 – Taliban attacks across Afghanistan killed at least 15 people on Wednesday, including four policemen and three civilians who died when insurgents tried to storm a joint NATO Afghan military base.
A suicide car bomb was detonated at the entrance of the base in the eastern province of Ghazni, one of the heartlands of the 12 year Islamist insurgency against NATO-led foreign troops and the Kabul government.
Eight to ten gunmen then tried to enter the camp from two directions in a firefight that lasted about one hour, Ghazni deputy governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi told AFP.
He added that at least one attacker had been gunned down inside the base, and that several Polish soldiers were wounded during the fighting.
The base in Ghazni houses the provincial reconstruction team (PRT), one of the units that deploys NATO military and civilian staff to help Afghan development projects.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was not able to immediately comment on the attack or Polish injuries. Poland, which has 1,200 troops in Afghanistan, is the lead ISAF nation in Ghazni.
“Seven people including four policemen have been killed,” provincial hospital chief Baz Mohammad Hemat told AFP. “Of 34 injured, five of them are police forces and the rest are civilians including women and children.”
Foreign troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan as local security forces take over responsibility for thwarting the Taliban, who are strongest in eastern and southern provinces such as Ghazni, Helmand and Kandahar.
Afghan and international leaders are trying to open peace negotiations with the militants to halt the conflict before a presidential election in April and the departure of all NATO combat troops by the end of the year.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Ghazni strike in an emailed statement, and said that attackers had successfully entered the base.
Also on Wednesday, another suicide bomber rammed his explosives laden car into a convoy of NATO troops in Helmand, killing four civilians.