US Military Chief's Plane Blasted by Afghan Rockets

But Army Gen. Martin Dempsey was 'nowhere near' the plane
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 21, 2012 4:13 AM CDT
In this April 19, 2012 file photo, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey confer on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Militants fired rockets at a US base in Afghanistan last night, damaging the plane of the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff while he was on a visit. But Army Gen. Martin Dempsey was "nowhere near" the aircraft, a spokesman said today. A Taliban rep claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place at the Bagram Air Field outside Kabul, saying Dempsey's plane was targeted by insurgents "using exact information" about where it would be. Two maintenance workers were slightly injured by shrapnel.

Dempsey finished his mission in Afghanistan and had left by this morning on a different plane, and the spokesman cast doubt on the idea that Dempsey's plane may have been hit by any precision attack. He said that insurgent rocket and mortar attacks are "not infrequent" at Bagram and that such fire most often comes from so far away that it's virtually impossible to hit specific targets. Dempsey was in Afghanistan to discuss the state of the war after a particularly deadly few weeks for Americans; the country is stepping up spying on its own troops in a bid to reduce green-on-blue attacks. (Read more Martin Dempsey stories.)

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