Visiting US vice president Dick Cheney escapes unhurt from Taliban attempt to assassinate him at Bagram air base near Kabul Tuesday
At least 20 people were killed, including 4 US soldiers, and many wounded by the blast at Gate 2 for laborers of the biggest American air base in Afghanistan. The American troops who died were manning a checkpoint at the gate. Taliban claimed the attack was an attempt on the life of the vice president. US Maj. William Mitchell said: ‘He wasn’t near the site of the explosion. He was safely inside the base.” debkafile reports: This explosion would be the closest the jihadist allies Taliban and al Qaeda have come to harming a top American personality and a major coup for them.
It was their third suicide attack in 24 hours.
Cheney, on an unannounced tour of the region, flew to Bagram air base early Tuesday from visits to Oman and Pakistan.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources add: Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives are known to infiltrate the base and its environs mingling among Afghan laborers. From time to time, they and Taliban have staged suicide attacks. As a protective measure, sections of the Bagram air base are set aside for American military facilities and the high-security central US prison housing Taliban and Taliban detainees, and closed to local personnel. Despite the high security, a large group of senior al Qaeda operatives managed to break out of Bagram jail in 2005.
debkafile‘s military sources report that in Oman Monday night, Cheney discussed the Iranian threat to the Strait of Hormuz off the emirate’s shores. In Islamabad, he conferred with President Pervez Musharraf on Pakistan’s military preparations for the expected Taliban spring offensive.