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Rocket lands near S. Korea’s Afghan base

A rocket fell early Saturday just outside an Afghanistan base where South Korean aid workers and troops are stationed, but there were no reports of injuries, Foreign Ministry officials said.

The rocket landed about 200 meters away from the wall surrounding the base in Charikar City in the northern Afghan province of Parwan at around 12:45 a.m., according to them.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that after searching the attacked area, its troops there found fragments of what appears to be a shell from a 107-milimeter multiple launch rocket system.

“The rocket appears to have been fired from a nearby town. Afghan police are currently investigating the case,” a JCS official said, declining to be named.

The attack was the seventh apparently aimed at the South Korean base in the war-torn country. The previous rocket attack took place on May 5.

Seoul officials are not ruling out the possibility of terrorism targeting the key Asian ally of the U.S., which shot to death Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, in a military raid in Pakistan on May 1.

More than 310 South Korean troops have been deployed to Charikar City to protect the Korean civilians working there as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team to help rebuild the war-torn country.

About 90 South Korean aid workers and police officers are operating in the PRT there. In Afghanistan, some 15 countries are participating in the PRT operation under the protection of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, which consists of troops from 46 countries.

The primary task of the PRT is to help bolster the administrative capabilities of the Afghan provincial government and stabilize the region. It also offers medical services, assistance for agricultural development, and vocational and police training.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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