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Taliban strike at NATO base in Afghanistan caused serious damage

September 15, 2012 |  8:37 pm

Prince Harry at Camp Bastion
KABUL, Afghanistan -- A Taliban strike on one of the most heavily fortified NATO bases in Afghanistan was far more serious than initially disclosed, marking the most damaging such attack of the 11-year-old conflict, military officials acknowledged Sunday.

In the attack late Friday at Camp Bastion in Helmand province, where Britain's Prince Harry is stationed as an Apache helicopter pilot, insurgents dressed in U.S. military uniforms breached the base perimeter and destroyed six Harrier jets and three refueling stations, the Western military said.

The attackers, armed with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests, also damaged two other jets and six aircraft hangars, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement, adding that the insurgents "appeared to be well equipped, trained and rehearsed."

Western officials also disclosed that nine coalition members -- eight troops and a civilian contractor -- were wounded, though not seriously. U.S. military officials had already reported that two Marines died in the fighting, which continued into the early hours of Saturday. Fourteen Taliban fighters were killed and one captured, they said.

The Taliban movement has said it will do everything in its power to kill or capture Prince Harry, who is third in line to the British throne. He arrived at Camp Bastion a week ago.

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Photo: Britain's Prince Harry, left, is shown the Apache flight-line by an unidentified member of his squadron at Camp Bastion this month in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Credit: John Stillwell / Pool Photo / Getty Images

 

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