Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — Insurgents with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades launched a sustained attack Thursday against a U.S. base in Kandahar. No coalition casualties were reported, but the hours-long confrontation demonstrated the Taliban's continuing ability to strike in the heart of Afghanistan's main southern city.
The attack, which began in midafternoon and stretched into the evening, targeted a joint civilian-military installation housing what is known as a provincial reconstruction team, or PRT, mainly devoted to development projects. The base was run by troops from Canada until this summer, when that nation ended its combat mission in Afghanistan.
One of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's biggest bases, Kandahar Airfield, is a short distance from the city, and sometimes serves as a deterrent to insurgent attacks in the area. PRT bases, however, are typically positioned so as to give immediate access to the surrounding community, to aid in the task of trying to win public support.
Afghan officials, who described the attack as "failed," said the assailants took over a three-story complex close to the U.S. base and used it as a staging ground. That echoed the tactic employed in a 20-hour siege of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last month, when assailants used an unfinished multistory building to rain rockets on the diplomatic compound.