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Afghan civilians stop terror attack at U.S. base

KABUL, Afghanistan-- Two civilians thwarted an attempted terrorist attack Tuesday when a vehicle loaded with explosives attempted to crash through the front gate of a U.S. base in the Afghan capital, according to the U.S. military.

The two men, an interpreter and a security guard, dragged the apparent suicide bomber from the vehicle before he could detonate explosives, said Col. Tom Collins, the chief spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"I think it's a pretty amazing and heroic event," Collins said.

He said that at about 9 a.m. Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET Monday) a driver crashed his vehicle into Camp Phoenix, the base where the Afghan National Army and police are trained. The driver reached for what appeared to be a cord to detonate a bomb, he said.

"Amazingly, a couple of Afghans who just happened to be on the scene there realized what was happening," Collins said.

"Anyone's inclination would have been to run away but these guys are genuine heroes," Collins said.

The area was immediately cordoned off while authorities waited for a bomb disposal team.

During the attempt to disarm it, the device went off. It's unclear how much or what kind of explosive material was used, Collins said. No U.S. or coalition troops were injured.

Not the first attack on base
In the past six months more than 70 allied troops -- mostly Canadian and British -- have died. About 70 U.S. troops also have been killed.

Because there has been so much violence in Afghanistan, Collins said his troops and the people who work near them are particularly alert.

"We're trying to control these attacks. We have a pretty high level of awareness. That's why [the interpreter and security guard] were able to act so quickly," he said, adding that the men may be honored in some fashion.

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