Taliban forces have killed two NATO troops in an attack on a base in Afghanistan. Speculation has arisen about whether the attack came in connection with Britain’s Prince Harry's being stationed at the camp.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on Camp Bastion, in the southern Helmand province. It said the assault was in retaliation over a film, made in the United States, defaming the Prophet Muhammad. The film in question has sparked protests around the world.
The attack on the camp began just after midnight local time on Saturday and involved rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small-arms fire.
In what was described by one US defense official as a "complex" operation, insurgents breached the perimeter of the base, which lies in the restive southern province of Helmand.
Sources at the Pentagon said that the dead were US Marines, although this remained to be confirmed officially.
Prince Harry has been deployed at the base as a military helicopter pilot. Earlier this week, Taliban insurgents vowed to target the third-in-line to the English throne, saying they had a "high-value plan" - described as their "Harry Operations" - to kill or kidnap him.
But on Saturday, a Taliban spokesman denied the prince had been targeted in the attack on Camp Bastion.
The 27-year-old prince is set to spend four months at the heavily fortified base. He was speedily withdrawn from the country in 2008, when a news blackout of his deployment directing air attacks from the ground was broken.
In contrast, his current deployment has been widely publicized. Britain's Ministry of Defense said any risk "has been, and will continue to be, assessed."
Policeman kills two NATO soldiers
In a separate incident on Saturday, two NATO soldiers were shot dead by a man believed to be an Afghan policeman, before the man was himself shot dead.
"An individual believed to be an Afghan Local Police [ALP] member turned his weapon against [NATO's] International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing two," ISAF said.
The attacker was killed in return fire.
rc, jr/ccp (AFP, dpa, Reuters)