Explosions, gunfire rock Afghan city airport

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Kabul, Dec 2: A series of explosions followed by gunfire rocked the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad early today as its airport came under an attack claimed by the Taliban, witnesses and officials said.

The Taliban said in a telephone call to AFP that they had launched an assault, including a suicide bombing on the airport complex, which contains a major NATO base. Militants had entered the airport, they said.

An Afghan government official confirmed that clashes had taken place within the airport complex.

A guard said that after the initial huge explosion the airport had come under fire from rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The hardline Taliban Islamists have waged an 11-year insurgency against the Afghan government, which is backed by 100,000 NATO troops, since being overthrown in a US-led invasion for harbouring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

A spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed that there had been "multiple explosions in the vicinity of Jalalabad airport", but had no further details. 


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