Insurgents strike airfield, killing 3 Afghans on NATO chopper

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan insurgents bombarded a U.S. base and destroyed a NATO helicopter, killing three Afghan intelligence employees, officials said Tuesday.

NATO personnel also aboard the helicopter were wounded, the coalition said without providing further details.

Separately, a teenage suicide bomber on Tuesday walked into a shop in western Afghanistan and blew himself up, killing five people, Afghan officials said.

The bombing and the strike at Bagram Air Field outside Kabul came as the U.S. and its allied military forces marked the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a tribute to the more than 3,000 foreign troops killed since the invasion of Afghanistan — including about 2,000 members of the U.S. military.

The attacks were a reminder that the Afghan war launched less than a month after 9/11 continues to rage, with insurgents waging a ceaseless campaign against the U.S.-led NATO coalition and the Afghan government.

“Eleven years on from that day, there should be no doubt that our dedication to this commitment, that commitment that was seared into our souls that day so long ago, remains strong and unshaken,” said Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and coalition troops, at a ceremony at NATO’s Kabul headquarters.

“Today we remember the victims here in Afghanistan who have suffered so horribly at the hands of al Qaeda and the Taliban and other terrorists,” he said. “Perhaps more significant to all of us at this ceremony, today we remember the precious soldiers and civilians of all nations lost in Afghanistan since that day of infamy in 2001.”

The attack on the sprawling Bagram Air Field occurred about 10 p.m. Monday. Militants occasionally fire mortars or rockets at Bagram, but the attacks usually cause little or no damage.

“Four rounds hit,” said Army Maj. Adam Wojack, a coalition spokesman.

“One of the rounds hit the helicopter and started a fire, which destroyed it.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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