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NATO: Suicide attack a coincidence

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 1 (UPI) -- A Taliban claim that a suicide attack on a base in Aghanistan was aimed at U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is "absurd," a NATO spokesman said.

"Their claim is simply going for more psychological impact on the population," the spokesman, Col. Tom Collins, said in The New York Times. "Clearly what they have done here is simply killing more innocent people."

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Cheney spent an unplanned night before the attack at the base because of heavy snow. The attack's timing was likely coincidence, Collins said at a news briefing, the Times reported.

Bagram police chief Muhammad Salem Ehsas told the newspaper the attack was probably aimed at the people lined up outside the base.

"I don't think it was connected to Cheney's visit," he said.

Tuesday's blasts killed at least 19 Afghan workers, including a 12-year-old boy, a South Korean soldier, a U.S. soldier, an American civilian and the bomber, The Times reported. Most of them were waiting at a checkpoint when the bomb exploded.

The Times also reported NATO and American forces knew there was a possible suicide bomber threat in Bagram, but Ehsas did not.

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