Rockets fired at US airbase in Kandahar


Unidentified attackers fired rockets toward the US military base at Kandahar airport today but missed their target. They fled in two vehicles as Afghan soldiers gave chase.

An inspection of the launch site found five BM-12 rocket-heads pointed toward the airfield, along with fuses and detonation cords. They said the attackers had already fired some rockets from the site, aimed at the airbase.

Kandahar airfield is now the base for US-led operations in Afghanistan. The airfield has come under sporadic attack, with two soldiers injured in an exchange of fire on the perimeter earlier this month.

The new local government insists there are no hostile forces in the vicinity of the airfield, and has said the firefight was probably an accident.

Kandahar was the Taliban's birthplace and main stronghold, and the last major Afghan city to slip from their grasp.

Some Afghans in the city say they resent the presence of foreign troops on their soil. Relations between residents and the US forces soured when more than 5,000 pilgrims hoping to travel to Mecca from Kandahar airport were told no planes would leave from the city.

Many of the pilgrims have accused the US forces of refusing to allow them to make the pilgrimage. The Kandahar government says the US did not try to block Haj flights to Saudi Arabia, but that damage to the runway meant it could not be used by large passenger aircraft.