- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 24, 2010

KABUL (AP) — The explosion that killed an American soldier on an Afghan military base this week was a suicide attack, the Pentagon has confirmed.

It was not immediately clear how the attacker got into the base or how many people were wounded in Monday’s blast. NATO referred questions to Afghan military officials because it happened on their base.

On Saturday, Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said he had received no information that the attack was a suicide bomb. The Taliban claimed responsibility in calls to news organizations in Kabul soon after the blast.

Sgt. Robert J. Barrett, 20, of Fall River, Massachusetts, died Monday when a suicide bomber attacked his unit in the Afghan capital, according to a statement posted Friday on the Pentagon website. Several U.S. soldiers were also wounded.

Barrett’s father, Paul Barrett, told The Standard-Times newspaper in Massachusetts that the attacker stole an Afghan uniform and infiltrated a group of Afghans his son and eight other U.S. soldiers were training to be police officers.

The younger Barrett was the father of a 2-year-old daughter named Sophie Alexandra, the Fall River Herald-News reported Friday. He also served at the inauguration of President Barack Obama as a member of the Massachusetts National Honor Guard’s volunteer regiment.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan said 15 insurgents were killed in a joint military operation with Afghan and NATO forces on Friday night.

In Baghlan province, to the south, 10 Taliban soldiers switched sides to join government forces, according to a spokesman for the provincial governor.

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