By Hashmat Baktash
2:57 AM PST, January 4, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan -- A NATO soldier was killed Saturday when insurgents attacked a military base in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.
Five insurgents launched the early-morning assault on a joint Afghan-NATO base in Ghani Khel, a district in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
One attacker detonated a Toyota Corolla packed with explosives at the entrance while four others tried to storm the base, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
A 40-minute firefight ensued, and when it was over the militants lay dead at the scene, Abdulzai said. No Afghan soldiers were reported killed in the incident.
The U.S.-led military coalition, known as the International Security Assistance Force, confirmed that one of its soldiers was killed in a suicide attack. The coalition declined to immediately identify the soldier's nationality.
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.
In a separate incident Saturday in Nangarhar, a roadside bomb struck a police vehicle as it was on patrol, killing three Afghan police officers, officials said.
Nangarhar lies on the Pakistani border and includes a key NATO supply route to the capital, Kabul. It has not been among Afghanistan's more violent provinces, but insurgents have increased attacks in recent months ahead of the planned departure of most U.S.-led NATO troops by the end of 2014.
Baktash is a Times special correspondent.
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