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US Army chief plane hit by rocket in Afghanistan

America's Army chief, General Martin Dempsey, had a near miss when militants fired two rockets into his Afghan compound, striking his plane.

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General Martin Dempsey was in Afghanistan to discuss the state of the war after a particularly deadly few weeks for Americans in the more than 10-year-old war. (AFP/Getty Images)

The plane of the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, was struck by rocket missiles on the Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan early today.

CBS News reported the attack happened about 1 a.m. and fortunately Dempsey was not near the plane at the time.

It caused minor damage to the C-17 plane and a Nato helicopter, according to US official.

Two American members of the ground crew suffered minor injuries from shrapnel.

The general was in his room at the time of the attack, and although shaken was not injured.

"He was nowhere near the aircraft. We think it was a lucky shot," Nato spokesman Col Thomas Collins is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Gen Dempsey left Afghanistan soon after in another plane.

The BBC reported Dempsey was in Afghanistan to discuss a growing number of attacks against Nato soldiers by Afghan security personnel.

The New York Post reported that Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

He said Dempsey's plane was targeted by insurgents "using exact information" about where it would be.

Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. Cathy Wilkinson was quoted in ABC News saying it was unlikely the attack was aimed specifically at Dempsey's plane.

"Indirect fire at Bagram is not unusual, so we don't believe his aircraft was targeted."

Bagram, about an hour's drive north of Kabul, serves as the first point of entrance for US officials visiting the country. It is the largest US base in Afghanistan.

Original Source URL: 
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/120821/us-army-chief-plane-hit-rocket-afghanistan

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/120821/us-army-chief-plane-hit-rocket-afghanistan