Panetta Safe After Vehicle Blast Near Afghan Runway

Truck drives onto Afghan runway as plane was landing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2012 12:17 PM CDT
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta listens during a meeting with Afghan Interior Minister Besmullah Mohammadi in Kabul.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – It's either a close call or a false alarm for Leon Panetta in Afghanistan: An Afghan man drove a pickup truck through a fence and onto a runway about the same time that the defense secretary's plane was landing at a US base, reports the AP and Washington Post. The truck went into a ditch and exploded into flames, though it's not clear yet whether it was an attempted attack on Panetta. The driver survived and is being treated for burn injuries, and no explosives have been found. The vehicle was apparently stolen from Camp Bastion earlier.

“At no point was the secretary or anyone on the aircraft in any danger from this incident,” says a NATO statement.

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