Afghan guards poisoned, beheaded

Brutal bank heist comes as Taliban attacks largest NATO base in South.

Afghanistan Tomb 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Afghanistan Tomb 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Assailants poisoned and beheaded six private security guards at an Afghan bank Tuesday, a brutal robbery in which $269,000 was stolen from the bank, according to police.
The theft came as, insurgents launched a ground attack on NATO's largest base in the south Tuesday, but did not breach its defenses, officials said.
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It appeared that the security guards were poisoned before they were beheaded, said Sherjan Durani, a police spokesman for Balkh province. He said someone apparently mixed a poison into the guards' food Monday night at a branch of Kabul Bank in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Durani says an unknown number of robbers beheaded the guards and took about $269,000 in US and Afghan currency. The case is being investigated.
The one-hour assault on NATO's Kandahar Air Field started just before midday and lasted about an hour before the attackers fled, said Maj. Fred De Mos, a spokesman for NATO forces.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but it fits the pattern of recent Taliban attacks against high-profile government and military targets.
Taliban insurgents previously tried to storm the Kandahar base on May 22, just a few days after the insurgents sent suicide bombers to assault the main US base in the country — Bagram Air Field near the capital.
De Mos said he did not yet have any information on casualties, nor how many assailants there were. He said troops were still chasing down insurgents in the area around the base but the installation was no longer under threat.
Kandahar provincial government spokesman Zalmai Ayubi said there were five attackers, two of whom were killed in the attack. He said they fired two rockets into the base, but did not have further details.