Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Afghan suicide bomber attacks CIA base

Afghan suicide bomber attacks CIA base

The US military base in Afghanistan that was targeted in a suicide attack on Wednesday was being used by the CIA, according to US media.

Most of the eight Americans killed in the attack on the base in the eastern Afghan province of Khost were CIA agents, the Washington Post reports.

If true, the attack is the single deadliest attack on US intelligence personnel in the eight years since US-led invasion of Afghanistan began.

The agency has acknowledged the deaths of four CIA officers in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion, according to the Post.

Meanwhile, in a separate attack four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian journalist were killed when their armoured vehicle was hit by a bomb in southern Kandahar province on Wednesday.

It remains unclear how the Khost bomber was able to evade security at Forward Operating Base Chapman, which the Post said serves as an operations and surveillance centre for the CIA near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

He made it into a room being used as a fitness centre, where he detonated his explosive belt. The blast also wounded eight people several of them seriously, the Post reported. At least one Afghan civilian was also killed.

At least one Afghan civilian was also killed.

"It is the nightmare we've been anticipating since we went into Afghanistan and Iraq," John E. McLaughlin, a former CIA deputy director told The Post.

"Our people are often out on the front line, without adequate force protection, and they put their lives quite literally in jeopardy," he said.

U.S. military officials and diplomats confirmed Wednesday's attack and the eight civilian deaths. "We mourn the loss of life in this attack," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

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