A Taliban suicide bomber killed six US soldiers and two Afghan troops in a suicide attack today that targeted a newly established outpost in a region of Kandahar known as the “heart of darkness.” The Taliban claimed it carried out the attack.
The suicide bomber detonated a minibus packed with explosives at the gate of a small combat outpost manned by US and Afghan troops in the town of Sangsar in the district of Zhari in Kandahar province. The suicide bomber was able to get past Afghan soldiers who were manning the outer perimeter.
The blast leveled the wall of a mud-brick home where the US and Afghan troops were building a new base in the village, according to The New York Times. The building collapsed on the soldiers, killing them and wounding more than a dozen US and Afghan troops.
The Taliban claimed the attack on its website, Voice of Jihad. The Taliban said that the suicide bomber, who was identified as Ahmadullah, detonated more than two tons of explosives as the US and Afghan troops were fortifying their positions.
The attack was carried out by the Mullah Dadullah Mahaz, or Mullah Dadullah Front, a wing of the Taliban in the south that is closest to al Qaeda, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. The Mullah Dadullah Front is led by none other than Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee who has since been promoted as the Taliban’s top military commander. On Dec. 4, Coalition and Afghan special operations troops captured a senior Mullah Dadullah Front financier and weapons facilitator.
Today’s suicide attack is the third such bombing in Kandahar in two days. Also today, a suicide bomber wounded eight Afghan troops after detonating his car bomb in Jalai. Yesterday, a suicide bomber wounded five policemen and a civilian in an attack in Kandahar city.
ISAF has launched major operations over the past several months in the Taliban stronghold districts of Arghandab, Panjwai, and Zhari. Prior to these operations, the Taliban had been in full control of these districts for the past several years.
ISAF believes that the operations, combined with its targeted campaign against mid- and top-level Taliban leaders, have put the Taliban in the south in disarray.
The Taliban have suffered heavy losses in a series of special operations nationwide. Over the past six months, more than 600 Taliban and allied terrorist groups’ leaders have been killed or captured, 2,000 fighters have been killed, and another 4,100 have been captured [see LWJ report, Special operations forces deal blows to Taliban ranks].
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