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Taliban attack U.S. base in Afghan city of Kandahar

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REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- Insurgents with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades launched a sustained attack Thursday against a U.S. base in Kandahar. No coalition casualties were reported, but the hours-long confrontation demonstrated the Taliban’s continuing ability to strike in the heart of the country’s main southern city.

The attack, which began in midafternoon and stretched into the evening, targeted a joint civilian-military installation housing what is known as a provincial reconstruction team, or PRT, mainly devoted to development projects.

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PRT bases are typically positioned to give immediate access to the surrounding community to aid in the task of winning public support.

Afghan officials, who described the attack as “failed,” said the assailants took over a three-story complex close to the U.S. base and used it as a staging ground.

A second and apparently coordinated strike took place outside a combat outpost in the Panjwayi district outside Kandahar city, where a car bomb exploded, according to a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. The spokesman, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, said the base’s perimeter was not breached.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for both of Thursday’s strikes.

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-- Laura King


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