U.S. soldiers inspect the scene of a suicide attack Monday outside a base in Zhari district, Kandahar province in Afghanistan. Nine Taliban militants launched an assault against a U.S. base, killing one NATO soldier in a region where foreign troops are rapidly pulling out, officials said. (Javed Tanveer / AFP via Getty Images)
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KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — An assault by suicide bombers and gunmen against a NATO base in southern Afghanistan on Monday killed one service member, the coalition said.
All nine insurgents were killed during the attack on a coalition base in southern Kandahar’s Zhari district, an Afghan official and NATO said. The group wore coalition uniforms and two civilian bystanders also died, the Afghan said.
The Taliban have intensified a campaign against Afghan and international forces as foreign troops withdraw this year.
The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement that the attack was carried out by a suicide car bomber and insurgents with automatic rifles who were also wearing suicide vests with explosives.
“The base is currently secured and all enemy forces were killed as a result of the attack. ISAF officials are still assessing (the) scene of the incident,” the statement said.
The nationality of the NATO service member was not released.
Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of eastern Kandahar, said nine insurgents took part in the attack against the base.
“First a suicide car bomber exploded near the entrance of the base, then other attackers armed with weapons engaged,” he said, adding that the insurgents were all were wearing coalition uniforms — a common Taliban tactic.
He added that “eight attackers were gunned downed in the firefights. There were a total of nine attackers including the suicide bomber.”
Two bystanders, a sheep herder and his 13-year-old daughter, were killed in the attack, Faisal said.
Zhari is located west of Kandahar city. The southern province of Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban.
Patrick Quinn and Rahim Faiez contributed from Kabul, Afghanistan.