KABUL, Afghanistan (Mar. 14, 2012) — ISAF is aware of a stolen vehicle incident today at Camp Bastion, which resulted in the injury of one coalition service member. The alleged perpetrator was apprehended by base security personnel. We are currently investigating to determine more facts.
This incident took place this afternoon around the same time U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was arriving in Afghanistan. At no point was the Secretary or anyone on the aircraft in any danger from this incident.
An Afghan man who crashed a stolen truck at an airfield as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's plane was landing there died Thursday of extensive burns, a top U.S. general in Afghanistan said.
U.S. Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparotti, the deputy commander of American forces in Afghanistan, told reporters traveling with Panetta in Kabul that the driver was an interpreter working for the foreign forces.
The man apparently had a container of fuel in the car, which ignited during the crash Wednesday at the British airfield in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.
"There was a puff of smoke and he came out engulfed in flames," Scaparotti said. He said the truck was headed toward a group of U.S. Marines assembled at the ramp.
"My personal opinion, yes, he had an intent to do harm," Scaparotti said.
But he said he did not think the incident was related to Panetta's arrival because it would have been difficult to know which plane the defense secretary was aboard.
No one in Panetta's party was hurt. The defense secretary was told about the incident after he got off the aircraft.
Authorities were not able to talk to or get any information from the driver before he died.
A U.S. military official said a British soldier was injured when he tried to stop the driver from stealing the truck on the base. The Afghan man hit the British soldier with the truck as he was driving away.