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Dempsey’s aircraft damaged in rocket fire

Dempsey’s aircraft damaged in rocket fire

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Aug 21, 2012 - 15:18

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The aircraft that brought US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Martin Dempsey to Afghanistaninfo-icon was damaged in a rocket fire at the Bagram airbase in central Parwan province, but the general was not onboard at the time, the military alliance said on Tuesday.

Insurgents fired two missiles into the base, north of Kabul, with the shrapnel hitting two aircrafts, including one used by the top US military official. Dempsey arrived in Kabul on Monday in a C-17 transport aircraft which was parked at Bagram Airbase. Two rockets landed near the apron late on Monday night, slightly wounding two ground staff, officials said.

The aircraft was only being used temporarily by Dempsey and his staff. The rockets also damaged a nearby helicopter. Dempsey, who had been in Kabul for talks with NATOinfo-icon and Afghan commanders on a string of recent rogue shootings, left the country on another aircraft.

"ISAFinfo-icon,the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), can confirm that shrapnel from an indirect fire round at Bagram Airfield damaged the military aircraft that brought Gen. Martin. Dempsey to Afghanistan," an ISAF statement said. The round was one of two that impacted Bagram last night, it added. An ISAF helicopter was also damaged. Due to some exterior damage to Gen. Dempsey’s aircraft, he left Afghanistan on a different military plane," the statement said.

Bagram is occasionally targeted with rockets and mortar shells fired by insurgents from surrounding hills and fields.

Before leaving the country, Dempsey met his Afghan counterpart, General Sher Mohammad Karimi, who raised the issue of insider attacks by rogue forces that have killed 10 American troops in the past two weeks.

Dempsey's visit to Afghanistan came at a time attacks on US forces by Afghan security forces are growing. An incident Sunday brought the death toll in attacks by Afghan military and police personnel this year to 40, according to US military officials. Twenty-three of those killed were Americans, according to the US Defense Department.

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