KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated a small truck laden with explosives Thursday at the entrance to a U.S.-led coalition compound in eastern Afghanistan, killing two Afghan security guards, officials said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack at a provincial reconstruction team base that Americans operate near Gardez, the capital of Gardez province. There are more than 20 so-called PRTs across Afghanistan where international civilian and military workers train Afghan government officials and help with local development projects.
Abdul Ihay Atrafi, an Afghan Border Police commander for several provinces in southeast Afghanistan, said the bomber hid the explosives in a truck loaded with wood. The bomber sped through an outer gate, then blew up the vehicle when he came under fire at a second gate, Atrafi said.
He said several people also were wounded in the explosion, which occurred shortly before 7 a.m. local time at the base 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the capital Kabul.
"It was a very powerful explosion because it was a truck," Atrafi said, adding that the blast caused extensive damage and shattered windows nearby.
Army Master Sgt. Nicholas Conner, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said two Afghan security guards died in the explosion. There were no NATO causalities, he said.
In a statement e-mailed to the media, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the attack was carried out by a 70-year-old suicide bomber from Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. He said the truck contained 7 tons of explosives and that the explosion killed and wounded more than 60 U.S. soldiers.
The Taliban often exaggerate casualties and other details of their attacks.