Afghan rocket strike hits top US general's plane

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents fired rockets into an American base in Afghanistan early today, damaging the parked plane of the visiting chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, the U.S. military said. The general was safe in his quarters at the time and later left the country aboard another aircraft.

The Taliban were quick to claim the rocket strike that hit the C-17 military transport plane of U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as another propaganda coup. The militants also have said their fighters shot down a U.S. helicopter that crashed last week, killing seven Americans, though U.S. officials cast doubt on both insurgent claims.

Dempsey “was nowhere near” the plane when the two rockets landed near the parked aircraft at around 1 a.m. today local time at Bagram Air Field outside Kabul, said Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the U.S. military and the international coalition. Shrapnel from the rockets damaged the plane and also a nearby helicopter, a coalition statement said.

Two aircraft maintenance workers were lightly wounded by shrapnel, Graybeal said.

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