Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen dressed as Afghan police attacked a US base near the Pakistani border on Monday, sparking a shootout that left all three assailants dead, officials said.
No member of the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan was killed in the assault on the base in Nangarhar province, said a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
"There were a series of explosions that occurred in the vicinity of a forward operating base in Nangarhar province," an ISAF spokesman told AFP. The military later described it as an "attempted but unsuccessful coordinated attack by enemy forces".
"There were three enemy forces killed during the attack. We can confirm that no ISAF personnel were killed as a result of this incident," it said in a statement. An AFP photographer saw the bodies of three dead attackers wearing Afghan police uniforms.
NATO combat troops are gradually withdrawing from Afghanistan and are due to finish their mission completely by the end of 2014, after presidential elections next April. Afghan officials said today's attack took place at Torkham, which borders Pakistan and straddles a key NATO overland supply route into landlocked Afghanistan from the nearest sea port of Karachi.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, Nangarhar governor's spokesman, said insurgents first attacked NATO supply trucks. "Today morning, Taliban insurgents attacked and burned supply trucks delivering supplies to NATO which belonged to foreign forces near the US base in Torkham," he told AFP.
"Later, three armed suicide bombers started gunfire and clashes with Afghan forces and US forces, and they were killed after three hours of fighting. "At the moment, the stand-off is over, and the situation is under control." Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban which is leading a 12-year insurgency against Western troops and the Afghan government, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to the media.