US, Afghan forces kill 16 Taliban in eastern Afghanistan

Map of Paktia province. Click to view.

Afghan police backed by US air support held off a Taliban attempt to overrun a district center in eastern Afghanistan. At least 16 Taliban were reported killed after US air support was called in.

A large Taliban force made up of Afghan, Arab, and Chechen fighters attacked the Sayad Karam District Center in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday morning. Afghan police assigned to protect the outpost held off the initial Taliban assault, and called for US assistance for US reinforcements.

US troops arrived and immediately called in air support. “Approximately a dozen extremists” were killed, said Combined Joint Task Force – 101. Afghan defense officials put the number at 16 Taliban killed.

Paktia province borders the Pakistani tribal agency of Kurram, where the Lashkar-e-Jhangavi, a Deobandi group funded by Saudi Wahabis, preys upon Shia living in the region. Lashkar-e-Jhangavi has merged with al Qaeda and serves as the group’s muscle in Pakistan.

Paktia also borders Khost province to the west. Khost borders Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency of North Waziristan. The Haqqani family, which is allied with the Taliban and al Qaeda, run the tribal agency and conduct operations in eastern Afghanistan. Siraj Haqqani, the son of Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, has close ties to Osama bin Laden and is one of the most wanted terrorists in Afghanistan.

Today’s attack in Paktia is the second large-scale, coordinated ground attack by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan in four days. On June 20, US and Afghan forces killed 55 Taliban and wounded another 25 during a massed attack on a patrol in neighboring Paktika province. On June 21, six rockets and mortars were fired from North Waziristan into Paktika province, killing one Afghan woman and three children. The attacks in Paktika occurred along a known Taliban infiltration route from North Waziristan.

Attacks in eastern Afghanistan are up by 40 percent this year when compared to 2007, said Major General Jeffrey Schloesser during a briefing at the Pentagon. Yesterday, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said three additional combat brigades are needed to fight the Taliban and train Afghanistan forces.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Render says:

    Three additional brigades?
    How many more convoys does that mean driving through enemy held or at least very unfriendly territory in Pakistan?
    Not liking the sound of all that.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    Until the 30+ camps in P-stan are put out of business, this cross-border insurgency can go on a long, long time. If the leaders of the Haqqani family can be targeted, thats great. Only thing is someone else will step in and enjoy the protection by the P-stani gov. I don’t see how they can call these areas “sovereign” P-stani territory. Its a farce.

  • C. Jordan says:

    “Until the 30+ camps in P-stan are put out of business, this cross-border insurgency can go on a long, long time.”
    Makes you wonder what Petraeus has planned once he takes over Centcom. Perhaps we are waiting until the center of gravity shifts to this region enough to warrant an attack.

  • JusCruzn says:

    The Pak’s have admitted before that they CANNOT CONTROL THIS AREA!!! Sounds like it is time to keep the predators watching/firing as there seem to be more fire coming from this area. Might be that the leaders of AQ/T-ban are getting rattled and ready to run again. From prior examples of them running they either try to call for a cease fire or just bug out when they think they can get away. GOOD WORK TROOPS KEEP KILLING HIRABI’S!!!!

  • Pete Howard says:

    Rhyno: Paks only have authority to be on the FATA roads – once off the road, they become foreigners too. These areas are sovereign only to the local Pakhtuns or, from time to time, those with the most money and the biggest guns…but even this is temporary.

  • Karensky says:

    Bill, any difference between Paktika and Paktia? Or are you typing without enough coffee?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    They are two separate, neighboring provinces. If you look at both posts you’ll see two different provincial maps. This is why I said “in neighboring Paktika province” in the second to last paragraph. The naming conventions and close proximity of the two provinces certainly doesn’t make my job any easier.

  • Pete Howard says:

    Bill – you’re good.

  • Karensky says:

    Many thanks Bill.


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