Around 55 people were injured in East Afghanistan Wednesday morning when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive laden truck into a U.S.-Afghan military base, local media reported.
The attack occurred at 8.15 a.m. local time and wounded at least 45 Afghan soldiers and eight civilians, including children, in the Zurmat district of Paktia province.
"The bomber detonated explosives right in front of a joint base shared by the Afghan army and foreign forces, wounding 45 soldiers," the deputy governor for Paktia, Gul Rahman Mangal, told Reuters.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said that its fighters entered the base after the explosion and that the attack would continue.
"Our mujahideen armed with rockets, machine-guns, hand-grenades and suicide vests successfully infiltrated an American forces base in Zurmat district following a suicide car bomb attack," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP.
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A spokeswoman for the NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed that the insurgents fired at the base after the explosion.
"Early reports say the attack resulted in several ANSF casualties, but there is currently no reporting on ISAF casualties," she added.
Violence in Afghanistan has escalated with the approaching 2014 deadline for the NATO-led international troops to withdraw from the country. The Afghan military has taken a more proactive role in the fight against insurgency and is being trained by the NATO forces to take control of the security.
There have been heavy casualties in Afghan troops in recent months, raising concerns about their ability to rein in the Taliban militants once the ISAF withdraws from the country.
A Reuters report cited NATO data showing 243 Afghan soldiers and 292 policemen were killed or wounded in an average month this year.
Taliban has intensified direct attacks on Afghan military and the ISAF bases, challenging the military’s ability to fight the Taliban terrorists.