Military

STARS AND STRIPES

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Two rockets fired toward Kandahar base, but fall outside perimeter
By Ron Jensen, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Monday, February 25, 2002

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Kandahar Airfield, the main U.S. operating base in
southern Afghanistan, was the target of a rocket attack late Saturday, although the
weapons fired fell far off target, according to officials with the U.S.-led coalition.



A patrol consisting of Canadian and Afghan forces witnessed the firing of two rockets
less than two miles southeast of Kandahar Airfield, officials said. The patrol saw the
rockets explode on impact about a mile from the base perimeter.



An investigation Sunday morning determined the rockets, while landing far outside the
fence, had been aimed at the base.



The rockets were fired without the use of launchers, Canadian army Capt. Ryan
Latinovich said. From the backblast and other evidence at the launch sites, however, it
was clear the intended target was the base, where 4,200 troops are housed as part of Task
Force Rakkasan.



Officials described the devices as Chinese-made 107 mm barrage rockets with a range of
eight kilometers, or about five miles.



The patrol of Canadian and Afghan forces chased two vehicles seen in the area, but did
not find the vehicles, said Major AC Roper, spokesman for Task Force Rakkasan.



"It’s estimated that the rounds were fired from a distance of 2.5 kilometers
from Kandahar Airfield and impacted approximately 1.5 kilometers from Kandahar
Airfield," Roper said Sunday afternoon.



A patrol returned to the scene of the firing early Sunday and found five rockets, fuses
and detonation cord.



"No launchers were found," Roper said.



Explosive-ordnance experts subsequently destroyed the rockets.



The rockets were leaning against rocks and pointed toward the base, a witness to the
patrol said Sunday. However, Latinovich said the rockets were not prepared for launch.



Located at the abandoned Kandahar International Airport, the base is home to the
coalition forces, including about 2,900 Americans and 750 Canadians.



The base, located in the southern desert region of Afghanistan, seems to have become an
inviting target. On Feb. 13, officials say, two U.S. soldiers were wounded when someone
outside the base perimeter fired on the troops as they patrolled inside the wire.




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