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Insurgents attack bases in Afghanistan

By Ruhullah Khapalwak and Nick Paton Walsh
updated 9:10 PM EDT, Thu October 27, 2011
US soldiers keep watch on site during a gunfire near a US base in Kandahar on October 27.
US soldiers keep watch on site during a gunfire near a US base in Kandahar on October 27.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The U.S. Embassy says there are reports of injuries
  • NEW: "This is a failed attack by the Taliban," an Afghan official says
  • ISAF says a suicide car bomb exploded outside an ISAF base in the Panjwai region
  • No casualties reported among PRT or military personnel

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Insurgents launched attacks Thursday on a Provincial Reconstruction Team base and a military outpost in Afghanistan, Afghan and NATO officials said.

Three insurgents took positions in a home near a PRT base in Kandahar, said the region's police chief, Salim Ahsas.

Officials killed two of the attackers, but one was "still resisting in the building," Ahsas said.

Residents reported heavy gunfire in the area.

The PRT base is about 800 meters (half a mile) from the three-floor building the insurgents are in, said Haji Ahsan, acting head of the Kandahar Provincial Council.

"We can say that this a failed attack by the Taliban," Ahsan said. "The Taliban have always been trying to do symbolic attacks to get more attention."

Haji Agha Lali, a member of the Kandahar provincial council, said insurgents were firing small guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) toward the Provincial Reconstruction Team.

There were no casualties among PRT or military personnel, Ahsas said.

The Taliban brought in two cars full of explosives, possibly to use in the attack, but authorities gained control of them and were working to defuse them, Ahsas said.

The U.S. military describes PRTs as civil-military organizations aimed at helping improve stability and rebuild, usually following hostilities.

The U.S. Embassy said the attack on the PRT base began at about 2:45 p.m. local time and was ongoing several hours later. Afghan and coalition forces responded.

"All PRT Chief of Mission personnel are safe and accounted for, but there are unconfirmed reports of a number of other injuries," the embassy said in a statement. "We do not have additional details at this time."

The statement noted that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said civilians serving in Afghanistan will not be intimidated by such attacks.

Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said the fighting in Kandahar was one of two incidents Thursday.

The second involved a suicide car bomb that exploded outside an ISAF base in the Panjwai region. "There are no ISAF casualties and the base's perimeter was not penetrated," he said.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report

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