Taliban suicide team hits base at border crossing with Pakistan
The Taliban launched another suicide assault, this time against a joint Coalition and Afghan base in Torkham at the border crossing with Pakistan. Although the attack today was defeated, dozens of fuel and supply trucks were destroyed during the assault.
Officials said that a Taliban suicide assault team numbering three fighters and armed with suicide vests, RPGs, and machine guns attacked a parking area adjacent to the base. The Taliban fighters were wearing uniforms belonging to the Afghan Border Police, according to Pajhwok Afghan News.
The fighting began after 6 a.m. Afghan time and lasted for nearly three and a half hours, according to the Associated Press. US Army attack helicopters intervened and killed at least three Taliban fighters.
The fighting forced the closure of the Torkham-Jalalabad road in Nangarhar, a key route from Afghanistan that is used to ferry NATO supplies from Pakistan. Dozens of trucks carrying fuel and supplies for NATO forces were destroyed.
The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that the attack took place.
"Our initial assessment of this morning's events, which occurred in the vicinity of a forward operating base located in Nangarhar province, is that it was an attempted but unsuccessful coordinated attack by enemy forces," ISAF said.
"There were three enemy forces killed during the attack," the statement continued. "We can confirm that no ISAF personnel were killed as a result of this incident."
The Taliban claimed credit for the attack in a statement on their website, Voice of Jihad, and named the fighters.
"The group of three martyrdom seeking Mujahideen, Muhammad Yasin from Nangarhar, Abdur Rahman from Kunar and Farooq Jan from Kandahar province stormed the huge base early this morning and after breaching the main base, engaged in head-on fight the with the enemy forces that lasted for about five hours," the Taliban statement said.
The Taliban claimed that the three fighters "destroyed as many as 154 armored personnel carriers, 12 mine clearing tanks, 85 trailer trucks and 9 container trucks filled with important and advanced military gears and arms, and also killed "several US-Nato invaders as well as killing and wounding 13 puppets." The Taliban routinely exaggerate the effects of their operations.
Today's attack is the fifth major suicide assault and bombing in Afghanistan in the past eight days. The attacks have taken place in different regions. On Aug. 26, a suicide assault team targeted a joint US and Afghan base in Kapisa province.
On Aug. 28, a suicide assault team attacked the Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Ghazni, killing a police soldier, four Afghan civilians, and three police officers. That same day, a suicide bomber targeted a US military convoy in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand. Five Afghan civilians were killed and more than 15 were wounded.
On Aug. 30, a suicide bomber killed a district chief and 19 other people in a suicide attack at a mosque in Kunduz province.
The Taliban promised to attack Coalition and Afghan forces as well as government officials when they announced their "Khalid bin Waleed spring operation" in April. The Taliban stressed that they would use "special military tactics" and "collective martyrdom operations," a reference to suicide assaults, and "insider attacks," or green-on-blue attacks, in which Afghan security forces attack ISAF personnel.