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Afghan Troops 'Drive Out' Taliban From Key Southern Base


Officials say Afghan security forces have driven out Taliban fighters from a key military base in southern Helmand Province after several hours of heavy clashes.

Umar Zhwak, a provincial government spokesman, said on November 28 that sporadic gunfire could be heard from the eastern outskirts of the Shorabak military base that formerly housed British troops.

Afghanistan's military earlier said a group of heavily armed insurgents launched an attack on Shorabak -- formerly known as Camp Bastion -- late on November 27.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the raid.

Zhwak said 12 militants, including five suicide bombers, were killed in the clashes.

Two Afghan soldiers were killed and three others were wounded, Zhwak added.

Those casualty figures could not be independently verified.

Camp Bastion, located northwest of the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, was handed over to Afghan security forces on October 26.

The camp was built by the British Army in 2005, and between 2005 and October 20014 it was the logistics hub for international troops operations in Helmand, a Taliban stronghold.

In a separate incident in Helmand, at least two police officers were killed and at least two others wounded in a suicide attack on their vehicle in Nawzad district, local police said.

In eastern Nangarhar Province, officials say more than 30 worshippers were injured – seven of them critically -- in an explosion inside a mosque.

Provincial police spokesman Hazrat Hossain Mashreqiwal said "the explosives placed in a mosque in the Khogiyani district went off during Friday prayers."

Afghanistan's upper house of parliament approved agreements recently allowing some 12,500 foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond December 2014, when the bulk of the international NATO-led force is due to leave.

On November 27, a suicide bomber attacked a British Embassy vehicle, killing six people, including one British national. More than 30 other people were injured in that attack, in the eastern part of the capital, Kabul, on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway.

Also on November 27, another attack targeted Kabul's Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic district, which contains foreign embassies and international agencies, as well as the homes of some senior government officials.

With reporting by, dpa, and AP