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Toll from suicide attack on Afghan base rises to 33 – Twelve children, three women among the dead

An Afghan man lies on a bed at a hospital after being injured at a suicide attack at Khost province eastern of Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. A suicide car bombing near a military base in eastern Afghanistan that once hosted CIA employees killed at least 17 civilians Sunday, local officials said, the latest insurgent attack after foreign forces ended their combat mission there. —AP

An Afghan man lies on a bed at a hospital after being injured at a suicide attack at Khost province eastern of Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. A suicide car bombing near a military base in eastern Afghanistan that once hosted CIA employees killed at least 17 civilians Sunday, local officials said, the latest insurgent attack after foreign forces ended their combat mission there. —AP

KHOST: The death toll from a suicide attack at a military base in eastern Afghanistan rose to 33 yesterday, as casualties from the Taleban’s insurgency continue to mount despite nascent peace talks. The Sunday evening bombing came at a military roadblock near Camp Chapman in Khost province, where both Afghan and foreign troops are stationed, shortly before iftar, the meal breaking the Ramadan fast. Mubarez Zadran, a spokesman for the provincial governor, and a senior police official confirmed the new toll, which included 27 civilians and six Afghan security personnel- up from 18 reported killed earlier. “Twelve children and three women are among the dead,” said Zadran.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Talebanwho last week held their first faceto- face peace talks with the Afghan government-have often targeted Afghan and foreign troops. At least 12 civilians were also killed in twin roadside bomb blasts over the weekend, officials said, blaming the attacks on the Taliban. The insurgents launched a countrywide offensive in late April, stepping up attacks on government and foreign targets despite the nascent peace talks in what is expected to be the bloodiest fighting season in a decade.

The UN mission in the country has said almost 1,000 civilians were killed during the first four months of this year, a sharp jump from the same period last year. In 2009, Camp Chapman was the target of a spectacular suicide attack claimed by Al-Qaeda.

Seven CIA American officials were killed in the deadliest assault on the US agency since 1983, when eight officers died in an attack on a military base in Beirut. In 2010, 24 Taleban militants, some wearing US uniforms, were killed when they tried to storm Camp Chapman and another nearby US base, Camp Salerno. The base was hit again by a suicide car bomb in 2012 that killed three Afghans in a blast powerful enough to rattle windows four kilometres (two miles) away.

Camp Chapman is located less than four kilometres from the city of Khost, which is near the Pakistani border, a volatile region where the Taleban, but also a multitude of armed Islamist groups, hold sway. NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in December, leaving local forces to battle the Taleban alone, but a residual force remains for training and counterterrorism operations. —AFP

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This article was published on 13/07/2015