Rocket attack kills 1 at NATO base in Afghanistan

KABUL: An early morning rocket attack on the largest U.S. military hub in Afghanistan killed one person Monday, NATO said. In the east, meanwhile, Afghan authorities thwarted three would-be suicide bombers from attacking a security post.

NATO confirmed that the sprawling Bagram Air Field, north of the Afghan capital of Kabul, came under attack on Monday, but a spokesman disclosed no details other than the death.

Abdullah Adil, the police chief in the Bagram district of Parwan province, says one rocket was fired onto the base's grounds at about 4 a.m. A Taliban spokesman told The Associated Press that two rockets were fired on the base.

Bagram is home to some 24,000 military personnel and civilian contractors supporting the war against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. While well-protected and located in a relatively quiet area, the more than 5,000-acre (2,000-hectare) base is still susceptible to rocket and mortar attacks. Last year, insurgents launched more than a dozen attacks on Bagram, killing at least four.

Also Monday, the U.S. military confirmed that an unmanned Predator drone aircraft crashed on takeoff in southern Afghanistan. The crash late Sunday night was not caused by enemy fire and the site was quickly secured, an Air Force release said.

Predator and Reaper unmanned drones have become crucial tools for the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq, both for their reconnaissance value and their ability to fire missiles at enemy positions. The CIA runs a separate covert program that targets al-Qaida and Taliban leaders across the border in Pakistan.

In eastern Afghanistan, police say Afghan security forces killed three suicide bombers Monday morning in Paktika province before they could launch an attack on security posts in Barmal district.

Separately in Ghazni province, Afghan police say three civilians were killed and three others were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside mine while they were moving household goods.