A Taliban rocket attack on the military wing of Kabul International Airport has destroyed three Afghan military helicopters.
Undisclosed Afghan officials were quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying that the rockets destroyed President Hamid Karzai’s helicopter as it sat on the tarmac, and damaged two other aircraft belonging to the Afghan Interior Ministry.
The ministry operates a fleet of 30 Russian-built Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters for counter-narcotics missions and special operations.
Mi-17 helicopters are supplied by the US Department of Defense (DoD), with each reportedly costing $18m.
Claiming responsibility for the attack in an e-mailed statement to Agence France Presse, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said it ’caused serious damage to the enemy’.
"There is loss of life and financial losses, and several planes were torched," Mujahid said.
However, Kabul Airport chief Mohammad Yaqub Rasouli said two rockets damaged aircraft, but no casualties were reported.
The attack comes a day after a Taliban suicide bomber attacked an Afghan Air Force bus in the capital city of Kabul, killing eight military officials and wounding 13 others, including civilians.
The airport, which is one of the most heavily defended areas of Kabul, also houses a number of military bases that are used by the US Armed Forces and Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops.
An unnamed US-led coalition spokesperson said: "There was no major damage to infrastructure, and our air operations capability has not been impacted."
Image: Three Afghan Mi-17 helicopters were damaged during a Taliban attack on Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of Carl Montgomery.