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Suicide bombers attack US base in Afghanistan for hours

The Taliban attackers and at least five Afghans were killed at the air base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. 

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Afghan security forces patrol the site where Taliban suicide bombers attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan air base in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday. Taliban suicide bombers detonated explosives at the gate and sparking a gunbattle that lasted at least two hours with American helicopters firing down at militants before the attackers were defeated.

Nasrullah Khan/AP

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Taliban suicide bombers attacked a joint US-Afghan air base in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday, detonating explosives at the gate and sparking a gunbattle that lasted at least two hours with American helicopters firing down at militants before the attackers were defeated.

The attackers and at least five Afghans were killed, officials said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

It was the largest clash at the Jalalabad air base since February, when a suicide car bombing at the gate triggered an explosion that killed nine Afghans, six of them civilians.

In Sunday's attack, two vehicles packed with explosives barreled toward the main gate of the base around 6 a.m. local time. The first vehicle, a four-wheel-drive car, blew up at the gate, said Hazrat Hussain Mashreqiwal, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. Guards started shooting at the second vehicle before it too exploded, he added. It was unclear if the explosives were detonated by the attackers themselves or by shooting from the guards.

Two Afghan students from a private medical school were caught up in the attack and killed, as were three other Afghans working at the base, Mashreqiwal said. He did not know if the base workers were private guards, members of the security forces, or civilian employees.

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