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Taliban rocket destroys Afghan president's helicopter

Taliban insurgents fired rockets into Kabul airport on Thursday, destroying the Afghan president's parked helicopter and damaging three other choppers, officials said, in an attack that underlined security fears in the capital.

The two rockets caused no casualties at the airport, which includes a large NATO base as well as a terminal for civilian flights to cities such as Dubai, New Delhi and Istanbul.

"Three helicopters were damaged and can be repaired, while President Hamid Karzai's helicopter was destroyed," Major General Afzal Aman, director general of military operations, told AFP.

Mohammad Yaqub Rassouli, head of the airport, said that firefighters rushed to put out a blaze in a hangar as some flights were halted.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on the heavily-guarded site, which has been targeted several times in recent years, in an email sent to AFP.

"There is loss of life and financial losses, and several planes were torched," the Taliban said. The insurgents often exaggerate the impact of their attacks.

The strike came a day after a Taliban suicide bomber in Kabul killed eight military officers travelling on a military bus.

The Afghan capital has been relatively peaceful since the presidential election on June 14, though there have been street demonstrations as politicians are locked in a dispute over vote fraud.

All NATO combat troops will leave Afghanistan by December, with about 10,000 US troops staying into next year if the new president signs a security deal with Washington.

by Michel MOUTOT © 2014 AFP

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Source : AFP

Published on ASDNews: Jul 3, 2014


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