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Conal Urquhart, Saturday 15th September 2012 01:17
At least two American marines were killed in an attack on a Nato base in Afghanistan in the early hours of Saturday morning. Taliban attackers are believed to have breached the perimeter of Camp Bastion and damaged buildings, hangers and aircraft. The base is the same one where Prince Harry arrived a week ago to begin a four month tour flying Apache helicopters. There is no suggestion he was close to the fighting.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman in London said: "We are aware of an incident that has taken place at Camp Bastion, which is currently being dealt with." A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan said: "I can confirm there was an attack involving small arms fire."
A US official said the attack killed two marines and wounded several troops. A number of aircraft and buildings at the base were hit by insurgent fire. The official said: "The attack is long over and now UK and US forces are in the process of conducting an assessment to discover the extent of the damage and go through the camp to make sure everything is secure."
The attack was aimed at Camp Leatherneck, the US sector of Camp Bastion which is the main American base in southern Afghanistan. Although Bastion is a British base, it is also home to American, Estonian, Danish and Afghan troops. It has two runways, a hospital and is the supply hub for southern Afghanistan handling thousands of flights of every month. The base is in desert several miles outside of Lashkar Gar, the capital of Helmand province.
A Washington official said the attack involved a range of weapons, possibly including mortars, rockets or rocket-propelled grenades, as well as small arms. The base is often subject to mortar fire, but officials in Afghanistan said the damage was far more severe than normal.