Taliban attack key U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Insurgents launched a brazen pre-dawn assault Wednesday against the giant…

Insurgents launched a brazen pre-dawn assault Wednesday against the giant U.S.-run Bagram Air Field, killing an American contractor and wounding nine service members in the second Taliban strike at NATO forces in and around the capital in as many days.

At least 10 insurgents were killed as Taliban suicide bombers attempted to breach the defenses of the base north of Kabul, while others fired rockets and grenades inside, according to a statement issued by U.S. forces.

The attack started around 3 a.m. Blasts and gunfire only subsided around midday, said Master Sgt. Tom Clementson, a spokesman for U.S. forces. No insurgents managed to get into the base and none were able to detonate their suicide vests, the statement said.

The Bagram attack came a day after a suicide bomber struck a U.S. convoy in Kabul, killing 18 people. The dead included five American troops and a Canadian, making it the deadliest attack on NATO in the Afghan capital in eight months.

The back-to-back attacks show the militants intent to strike at the heart of the U.S.-led mission, apparently part of an offensive announced by the Taliban earlier this month — even as NATO prepares for a major operation to restore order in the turbulent south.

In the latest violence in the south, a NATO service member died in a bomb attack Wednesday, the military alliance said in a statement.

It did not provide further details.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for both the Kabul bombing and the attack at Bagram, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Kabul.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said 20 suicide attackers were involved.

Source: Yahoo! News AP

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