The Taliban have claimed credit for a suicide attack on a military convoy today in the eastern Afghan province of Khost that killed 14 people, including three Western soldiers.
The suicide bomber detonated his explosives as a convoy of of NATO and Afghan forces traveled near the governor’s compound in Khost City, the provincial capital of Khost, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. Three NATO soldiers, four Afghan police officers, including the commander of the Khost Rapid Reaction Force, and seven civilians were killed in the blast. In addition, at least 53 people were wounded.
The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that three of its soldiers and “an ISAF-contracted interpreter” were killed in “a suicide improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today.” ISAF did not release the names or nationalities of the soldiers killed, but Americans up the bulk of the forces in Khost.
The Taliban claimed credit for today’s attack in a statement released on Voice of Jihad, their official propaganda website. The Taliban claimed that the attack was carried out by a Muhammad Shoaib, a “resident of Kunduz province.”
The Taliban have targeted ISAF convoys in the east with a suicide bomber twice in the past five days. On Sept. 26, a Taliban suicide bomber killed two US soldiers in a suicide attack on a convoy in the Baraki Barak district in Logar province.
Both the Sept. 26 suicide attack and the attack today were likely executed by the Haqqani Network, the Taliban subgroup that has a strong presence in eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network, which is closely tied to al Qaeda and has been recently been added to the US’s list of terrorist organizations, has a strong presence in Khost and has expanded its operations into Logar province over the past several years. The Haqqani Network frequently conducts suicide attacks in eastern Afghanistan as well as in Kabul.
Since Sept. 1, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network,and the Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin have executed 10 suicide attacks against ISAF and Afghan personnel, as well as against Afghan civilians, according to a count by The Long War Journal. The attacks have taken place throughout Afghanistan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.