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Cheney OK after Afghan blast; 23 killed

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070227/ap_on_re_as/afghan_explosion Cheney OK after Afghan blast; 23 killed By ALISA TANG, Associated Press Writer 4 minutes ago
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27 6:35 AM
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070227/ap_on_re_as/afghan_explosion

      Cheney OK after Afghan blast; 23 killed

      By ALISA TANG, Associated Press Writer 4 minutes ago

      BAGRAM, Afghanistan - A suicide bomber attacked the
      entrance to the main U.S. military base in
      Afghanistan on Tuesday during a visit by Vice
      President
      Dick Cheney, killing up to 23 people and wounding 20.
      Cheney was unhurt in the attack, which was claimed by
      the Taliban and was the closest that militants have
      come to a top U.S. official visiting Afghanistan. At
      least one U.S. soldier, an American contractor and a
      South Korean solder were among the dead,
      NATO said.

      Cheney, who visited with President Hamid Karzai and
      then left the country two hours after the blast, said
      the attackers were trying "to find ways to question
      the authority of the central government."

      The vice president had spent the night at the
      sprawling Bagram Air Base, and it was about 10 a.m.
      when the explosion sent up a plume of smoke visible by
      reporters accompanying. U.S. military officials
      declared a "red alert."

      "I heard a loud boom," Cheney told reporters. "The
      Secret Service came in and told me there had been an
      attack on the main gate."

      He said he was moved "for a brief period of time" to
      one of the base bomb shelters near his quarters. "As
      the situation settled down and they had a better sense
      of what was going on, I went back to my room," Cheney
      added.

      Asked if the Taliban were trying to send a message
      with the attack, Cheney said that fighters "clearly
      try to find ways to question the authority of the
      central government."

      "Striking at the Bagram (base) with a suicide bomber,
      I suppose, is one way to do that," he said. "It
      shouldn't affect our behavior."

      Maj. William Mitchell said it did not appear the
      explosion was intended as a threat to Cheney. "He
      wasn't near the site of the explosion," Mitchell said.
      "He was safely within the base at the time of the
      explosion."

      There were conflicting reports on the death toll.
      Karzai's office said 23 people were killed, including
      20 Afghan workers at the base. Another 20 people were
      injured, it said.
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