Afghan insurgents attack Nato base in Kandahar 22May10

Afghan insurgents attack key Nato base in Kandahar

Insurgents have attacked Nato's main military base in southern Afghanistan.

A Nato spokesman told the BBC Kandahar airfield had come under rocket and mortar fire. Several Nato personnel were wounded. A ground assault was also reported to be under way.

It is the second such attack on a major Nato site in the last few days - on Wednesday Taliban militants attacked the main US military base at Bagram.

An American contractor was killed in fighting that lasted several hours.

Nato also said that attacks in southern Afghanistan earlier on Saturday killed three Nato personnel and a civilian working with the military.

On Tuesday, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a Nato convoy in the capital Kabul, killing 18 people including six Nato soldiers.

The attacks came soon after the Taliban announced a spring offensive against Nato forces and Afghan government troops.
A bold stroke isn't it?
KAF gets IDF'd a fair few times, but ground attacks.....
First I have heard of ground attacks on KAF.Wait to see if this is confirmed.
NATO base in Kandahar attacked by insurgents
By Joby Warrick and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 22, 2010; 3:07 PM

WaPo Report

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN -- Insurgents launched a brazen ground and rocket attack late Saturday against NATO's largest military base in southern Afghanistan, wounding several coalition troops, military officials said.

About four rockets crashed down about 8 p.m. on the Kandahar air field, one of them exploding near a popular coffee shop and causing several casualties, officials said.

In an apparently coordinated strike, a group of insurgents attempted to breach a gate on the north side of the base but were beaten back. At least two insurgents were killed, the officials said.

The number and extent of coalition casualties was not immediately clear.

United States Army Spc. Kevin O'Connor, of Hingham, Mass., right, sits in the darkness with other members of United States Army during an ambush set up Friday, May 21, 2010 to catch Taliban fighters who had fired on their outpost earlier in the week, in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Julie Jacobson - AP)

"The perimeter was not breached," said Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force.

The assault appeared to be ongoing late Saturday. Attack helicopters were seen blasting positions near the fence with missiles and machine guns.

Several planes that were awaiting takeoff on the runway were evacuated, and base officials ordered passengers into bunkers as loudspeakers blared warnings. Some troops who were awaiting fights were dispatched with their weapons to help fend off possible attackers, while others huddled in the dark near the tarmac to watch the helicopters' counterattack.

A security contractor at the base who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he heard about five or six explosions. One of the rockets, he said, landed near the Green Bean coffee shop on the base "boardwalk," a covered wooden walkway area that includes many restaurants and shops.

"There was a number of casualties. We saw a lot of smoke. It's a heavily populated area," the contractor said.

Sirens began wailing a second time around 11 pm., three hours after the initial assault, but there were no reports of additional rocket fire from insurgents. Unmanned drones buzzed overhead and flares lighted up the sky near the northern gate as the hunt for the assailants continued into the night.

The attack came three days after insurgents assaulted Bagram air base, another massive NATO base, with rockets, grenades and gunfire, killing one U.S. contractor and wounding several others.

It was at least the third high-profile attack targeting NATO troops in less than a week. One day before the Bagram strike, a suicide bomber blew up his car near a NATO convoy in Kabul, killing five U.S. troops, a Canadian officer and at least a dozen Afghan civilians. The incidents followed a Taliban warning earlier in the month that it was launching a spring offense aimed at killing foreign soldiers and derailing reconciliation talks scheduled to begin in a few weeks.

Blotz, the ISAF spokesman, said the Kandahar attack appeared to involve a small group of insurgents and lacked the sophistication of the assault on Bagram.
the boardwalk area!!! Where will the Romanians go now? :cry:

Civilian and military personnel take shelter during an attack at Kandahar Airfield. Several NATO troops and civilians were wounded.

Civilian and military personnel take shelter during an attack at Kandahar Airfield. Several NATO troops and civilians were wounded.
Photograph by: Nikola Solic, Reuters, Canwest News Service

-NATO security forces have repelled an attack by "a small number of insurgents attempting to enter the base on the north side," according to a statement from Regional Command South.

"No insurgents have penetrated the base perimeter," NATO said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

The announcement came more than four hours after rockets and mortars were fired at the sprawling base. This salvo was quickly followed by a ground attack.

No Canadians were involved in repelling the attack because they are not responsible for perimeter security, said Maj. Daryl Morrell, the chief Canadian spokesman. This task falls to the Royal Air Force Regiment, an infantry unit that specializes in airfield defences.

Although the fighting seemed to have subsided, "all military and civilians personnel on the base are being instructed to stay in safe locations as a precaution," NATO said in a statement.

Several NATO troops and civilians at Kandahar Airfield were wounded in the attacks, which came shortly after dusk local time.

In Ottawa, a spokeswoman for the Department of National Defence, said it was not known if any Canadian personnel were wounded.

"There were some injuries and they're receiving medical attention," Jennifer Eckersley said, but she could not confirm if any Canadians were among those injured in the attacks.

At least five rockets hit the base during the attack, NATO said. One missile struck a leisure area popular with some of the more than 20,000 soldiers and civilians who live on the base, wounding several people. The nationalities of those wounded -- a mixture of military and civilians -- was not released by NATO or by the Canadian Forces.

Rocket attacks on the airfield are fairly common, but highly inaccurate and seldom hit anything of consequence. Soon after the first few rockets landed, insurgents tried to breach the perimeter on the north side of the airfield. Some Canadian soldiers in full battle regalia quickly raced to take up defensive positions. Others took shelter in bunkers.

"As whenever there is an incident, we are all involved in taking defensive measures to protect the base," said Morrell.

Sporadic gunfire and heavier weapons could still be heard more than 3 1/2 hours after the attacks began. Attack helicopters could also be seen flying toward the location of the attempted breach. "A number of assets are being brought to bear including aircraft," a NATO spokesman said.

The attacks, which appeared to be co-ordinated, were the longest and most sustained against the base in recent memory.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay said he was aware "of the significant incident at Kandahar Airfield and the minister continues to monitor activities as they evolve."

Sixteen insurgents were killed and five detained in a similar attack Wednesday against Bagram Airfield. A U.S. contractor was killed and several U.S. troops were injured, but insurgents failed to break through the outer perimeter of the base.

The attacks come days before a peace jirga is to begin in Kabul at which the government and respected elders from around the country are to seek ways to end the Afghan war.

With files from Bradley Bouzane

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