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Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 10:09 UK

Attack on Afghan Nato base foiled

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At least six suicide bombers have been killed in an attempted attack on a Nato military base in south-eastern Afghanistan, Nato officials have said.

The militants failed to storm Camp Salerno in Khost province, where many US troops are based, Nato and Afghan officials said.

Nato has faced a barrage of attacks across the country since Monday.

Officials say heavy fighting is also taking place near the capital, Kabul, after a Nato patrol was ambushed.

A spokesman for the Nato-led International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf) said a major incident had been going on since Monday.

He said there was heavy fighting going on in the area and it was believed there were some casualties.

The growing numbers of insurgent attacks close to the capital, Kabul, have heightened fears that the Taleban are encroaching on the capital city, says the BBC's Alastair Leithead, in Kabul.

Surge in violence

Before the attack in Khost, the Taleban announced that a group of 30 Taleban fighters would attack Camp Salerno.

Isaf confirmed that Camp Salerno had been attacked by rockets or mortars, and that a number of suicide bombers had tried to storm the base.

Isaf troops in Kabul
The insurgents appear to be moving closer to Kabul

"Isaf forces on the base had before identified a group of insurgents posturing to attack the base and engaged them with small arms fire," a statement said.

"Helicopters arrived on station soon after and engaged these insurgents as they attempted to flee from the scene.

"Three of the insurgents killed themselves by detonating their suicide vests. Isaf forces killed three other suicide bombers before they could detonate their vests. There were no Isaf casualties in the attack," the statement said.

On Monday, nine Afghan civilians were killed when a suicide bomber rammed a car into the gate of the same base.

Isaf said the numbers involved in Tuesday's attack were a lot smaller than the Taleban claimed.

However, the governor of Khost, Arsala Jamal was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying that two children were killed in the fighting and two more, along with a woman, were wounded.

Despite increased security in Kabul two rockets were fired on the city overnight, landing close to the Isaf headquarters; and in Kandahar a Nato patrol was also struck by a roadside bomb.

Our correspondent says that there are incidents like these everyday across Afghanistan as the overall security situation appears to be deteriorating.


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