Taliban kill 18 Afghans in Khost suicide attack

One day after launching a pair of suicide assaults against a US outpost and an Afghan police checkpoint in Kandahar, the Taliban sent out another suicide bomber against a US military convoy in the eastern province of Khost. Eighteen Afghans, including two policemen and children, were killed in the blast. The extent of US casualties is not yet known. From The New York Times:

At least 18 civilians, including two police officers, were killed on Wednesday by a suicide bomber who attacked an American and Afghan military convoy in this provincial capital, Afghan officials said.

Witnesses spoke of American and Afghan military casualties. A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, Maj. Martyn Crighton, said the attack had “caused some ISAF casualties,” but that it was too soon to say how many.

Major Crighton said the military was aware of reports of a large number of military casualties but did not yet have details on how many were Afghan as opposed to coalition soldiers, or how many were wounded or killed. He confirmed that ISAF and Afghan soldiers were present at the scene of the attack.

The Taliban have yet to claim credit for the attack on their website, Voice of Jihad (will update once they do, it is inevitable). Given where the attack took place, it is likely that it was executed by the Haqqani Network, the al Qaeda-linked Taliban subgroup that holds sway in Khost, Paktia, and Paktika.

The last major attack in Khost took place on June 1, when the Taliban (again, likely the Haqqani Network) launched a suicide assault on Forward Operating Base Salerno. A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at the outer wall, and then fighters breached the wire. Fourteen Taliban fighters, seven civilian workers, and a US soldier were killed in the attack; more than 100 US soldiers were wounded. The blast from a car bomb leveled the PX and the dining facility.

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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  • mike merlo says:

    another Hearts & Minds effort on the part of the Taliban

  • Marie Costa says:

    There are atleast 3 American casualties-one was my Nephew Matthew Bradford Thomas, Military Police out of South Carolina. We don’t know yet who the others are or how many were wounded.
    We can’t let our government squash this information: our country deserves the truth and our military families given the proper care and credit for all they do for us. Please pray for my sister and our family.

  • James says:

    Marie, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family as well as to all our brave soldiers over there.
    It breaks my heart every time I hear of an American casualty over there.
    Bill, it’s time to ask of this Administration a very good question: Do our troops over there at least have the force structure in place and enough boots on the ground to protect each other?
    It seems to me the more troops we pull out the attacks and casualties only go up. This is just the opposite of what happened with the troop surge in Iraq.

  • Vyom says:

    If US government is withholding information or deflating the casualty figures of their own then they are damaging their own country’s moral. It would be the greatest tactical foul up on US side.

  • Vyom says:

    Please read this. It is DOD website. They confirm the casualties.

  • Fab Luka says:

    @ Marie, I agree with you 100%. And I am very sorry to hear about your loss.

  • Jolene says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. My son is stationed at Salerno. I will be praying for your family.


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