KABUL -- Militants tried to blast their way into an American base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, striking before dawn with rocket-propelled grenades and a car bomb.

All four attackers were killed as well as two truck drivers parked nearby, said provincial Police Chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.

Two Afghan security guards were wounded.

The militants failed to breach the gate of the base in Panjshir province's Rakha district, though they did hit a security tower with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Three of the men attacked on foot, shooting, while a fourth detonated the explosives-laden vehicle outside the gate, Jangalbagh said.

The blast hit two fuel tankers that were waiting to enter the base, killing the Afghan drivers inside, he said.

A NATO spokeswoman confirmed the attack but said there were no American deaths or injuries and no significant damage to facilities.

"There was a complex attack attempted, but it was repelled," Capt. Ebony Calhoun said. She said the guards' wounds were not life-threatening.

The base houses a provincial reconstruction team -- a mix of military and international civilians who work to improve provincial governance, services and infrastructure.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent to The Associated Press.

NATO downplayed the significance of such spectacular strikes yesterday, presenting figures that showed headline-grabbing assaults account for only 1 percent of attacks in Afghanistan and that militant activity is down overall.

Insurgent attacks between January and September were 8 percent lower than the first nine months of 2010, according to figures supplied by a senior official with NATO forces who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the information.

But while violent attacks are down overall, assassinations have increased 60 percent for the same period with 131 people killed so far this year, according to the official.

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