Gunfire, explosions reported at US/NATO Afghan air base

Mustafa Kazemi, a freelance war correspondent working in Afghanistan, tweeted early Sunday that “dense gunfight [is] ongoing between insurgents & possibly U.S. & Afghan forces at Jalalabad Air Base main gate.”

At this time (early Sunday morning), other than a very spotty, four-sentence article in the Voice of America News, the only information on the attack seems to be coming via Twitter. The VOA report reads as follows:

Afghan officials say a series of explosions and gunfire have rocked a U.S. and NATO military air base in eastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack Sunday in Jalalabad.
There was no immediate information about casualties.
Details about the ongoing assault are still emerging.

Reuters news agency of India added that according to a Reuters witness, the gunfire was accompanied by two explosions.

Jalalabad aeroport attacks
Jalalabad air base

Kazemi described Jalalabad Air Base as “a station for U.S. Army Infantry & U.S. Army Special Forces as well as a unit of Navy SEALs in East of Afghanistan.”

Khalid Khan, a self-described “cyber journalist, working with Pakistan’s largest media group” out of Karachi, Pakistan, added that the Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, using suicide bombers in their effort. The Taliban also claimed that several of the insurgents were successful in entering the air base itself.

BBC reporter Bilal Sarwary, working out of Afghanistan, added that the base sent several helicopters in the air to support the ground forces warding off the attack. He also reported that “Afghan intelligence officials in Jalalabad tells BBC, 3 Afghan guards for US military from Shaheen battalion were killed &11 were injured.”

Contrary to Sarwary’s tweet, Kazemi mentions no deaths other than those of the Taliban insurgents: “ISAF Joint Command says the Afghan Forces were wounded while defending the Air Base perimeter. All attackers are reported killed.” ISAF stands for “International Security Assistance Force.”

Jalalabad Air Base has been the site of many previous attacks, including at least two in 2010 committed by Taliban insurgent forces.

UPDATE: The New York Times has since picked up the story via the Associated Press and reports that the exchange of gunfire “killed at least one member of the Afghan security forces” according to allied coalition officials.

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