Camp Bastion: Driver Dies After Suspected Suicide Attack During Leon Panetta's Arrival
An Afghan man who crashed a stolen vehicle on the runway at Camp Bastion just as US defence secretary Leon Panetta arrived there has now died of his injuries.
Lt Gen Curtis Scaparotti, the deputy commander of American forces in Afghanistan, said the man died this morning of severe burns.
He said the driver had a container of fuel in the vehicle, which ignited during yesterday's crash at the British airfield in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.
The driver, a local male civilian employed at the base, was being treated at Camp Bastion's hospital for his injuries.
Lt Gen Scaparotti said the driver had been heading towards a group of marines.
The driver travelled at high speed and crashed into a ditch near the ramp where Mr Panetta's plane was going to park. No one in the defence secretary's party was hurt.
The drama at Camp Bastion is believed to be linked to an earlier incident, which left a British serviceman with minor injuries.
Mr Panetta arrived at the base to meet troops, commanders and Afghan government officials, just days after a US soldier went on a deadly shooting spree in Kandahar.
Around the same time as the defence secretary's aircraft landed, a vehicle got on to the runway at Camp Bastion and caught fire.
The driver, a local man employed at the base, was yesterday being treated at Camp Bastion's hospital for his injuries, according to a spokeswoman at the camp.
The base is home to a large contingent of US troops as well as UK forces.
In a statement yesterday, Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said: "The alleged perpetrator was apprehended by base security personnel. We are currently investigating to determine more facts.
"At no point was the secretary or anyone on the aircraft in any danger from this incident."
Camp Bastion was put under "lockdown" in the aftermath of the incident, with flights and movements in and out restricted while it was investigated.
Ministry of Defence police patrolled roads inside the base in the wake of the incident.
A spokeswoman at Camp Bastion said: "Procedures were put in place to account for the whereabouts of all military and civilian personnel and, to achieve this, movement within Camp Bastion was restricted."
The incident comes amid increasing tension between Isaf forces and Afghan locals.
At the weekend 16 Afghan civilians, including several children, were shot dead by a US soldier.
The suspect accused of carrying out the rampage has now been flown to Kuwait, it has emerged.
Last month there was anger after US troops burned Korans on an American base.
Mr Panetta's two-day visit is scheduled to include meetings with President Hamid Karzai, Afghan defence officials and provincial leaders, as well as routine discussions with his commanders on the ground.