Taliban torch hundreds of fuel tankers in Kabul

Late last night in Kabul province, the Taliban destroyed hundreds of tankers and supply trucks carrying fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The attack took place as the vehicles gathered at a trucking terminal in the Paghman district of Kabul province. Claiming credit for the attack, said the Taliban said they planted bombs on the trucks and then detonated the devices remotely.

“Mujahideen first planted the huge trucks, the tankers other vehicles with magnet, sticky and plastic bombs which were later detonated, triggering a huge fire that spread form [sic] one vehicle to another one and soon engulfed the entire supply terminal,” the Taliban said in a statement released on Voice of Jihad.

The district police chief for Paghman told Pajhwok Afghan News that more than 400 trucks were destroyed in the blaze. Another 250 trucks were moved to safety, the police chief said.

The Taliban claimed that more than 600 trucks were destroyed and “a large number of the local security guards and the US-Nato invaders were killed.” No casualties were reported by Afghan officials. The Taliban routinely exaggerate the effects of their operations.

The Taliban said last night’s attack on the trucking terminal was “the fourth in a series of attacks targeting US-NATO supply terminal [sic] since the operation Khaibar began.” Operation Khaibar is the Taliban’s name for their spring 2014 offensive.

The Taliban also carried out two other successful high-profile attacks in Kabul this week. On July 2, a suicide bomber killed eight members of the Afghan National Air Force in an attack on a bus in the capital of Kabul.

And on July 3, a Taliban rocket team hit the military side of Kabul International Airport. Three Afghan helicopters were hit in the attack, including one used to transport President Hamid Karzai, which was destroyed. The attack caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

In the south, the Taliban have gone on the offensive as part of an effort to retake key areas lost during during US and NATO military operations from 2010 to 2011. The Taliban still control much of Sangin, a strategic district in Helmand province, after launching an operation with more than 1,000 fighters on June 19.

As the Taliban step up their operations in Kabul and in the provinces, the US is preparing to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan. The US hopes to keep 9,800 troops for advisory and special operations missions in the country until the end of 2015. That number will be halved by the beginning of 2016, and then withdrawn by the end of that year. Currently there are an estimated 30,000 US troops in Afghanistan.

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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  • Arek says:

    Nobody kept eye on these vehicles? If it’s possible to get into the MILITARY supply terminal that easily, destroy 2/3 of it and simply go out, I don’t prophesy serious successes for NATO forces.

  • blert says:

    This debacle reminds me of the almost entirely forgotten POL fiasco suffered by the South Vietnamese that triggered the military collapse of that nation.
    It’s a forgotten snippet of history — forgotten by all sides of the Vietnam War debate, near as I can tell. You must believe me it was front page news at the time, an international scandal.
    Directly because of the OPEC oil embargo, crude oil prices ramped to the moon. The Thieu government of South Vietnam rushed to buy — using the Congressional (annual) allocation in full to load up on POL. (petroleum, oils and lubricants… gasoline, kerosene and Diesel fuels)
    This was most unwise, as there was no space available to store quite so much POL — IN A SAFE MANNER.
    The US Army Corps of Engineers was of counsel to the Vietnamese government and ARVN. Both relevant colonels were furious with their counterparts (two bases/ dumps were at issue) as they foresaw that a chain reaction inferno must happen if a single spark lit off.
    (cf the Port Chicago fiasco and the Pearl Harbor (1944) fiasco.)
    The US Army officers had told the Vietnamese Army to store their (advance) purchases far, far away — like in Australia or Europe. (Due to the embargo, spare storage capacity was dirt cheap in Holland. OPEC embargoed Holland (a MAJOR crude oil distribution hub because she wouldn’t embargo America from her massive hub. The Dutch refused to kiss OPEC’s hand. (It’s a WWII legacy kind of thing for the Dutch.))
    So the predicted happened: the NVA fired off a handful of 122mm GRAD rockets into the two biggest ARVN POL dumps. They burned out of control for days and days — until ARVN had no strategic POL reserves at all. ARVN didn’t even have the ability to properly receive replacement POL, either.
    The result was an international crisis. The Vietnamese air force was effectively grounded. Only crisis sorties were flown from that point onward.
    The two colonels were off to Congress to provide testimony. They damned their fellow ARVN officers as being obtuse and obstructive. (traitors?)
    The loss of this fuel was THE trigger that caused even Republicans to baulk at giving Thieu monies to replace the fantastic sums that had just been burnt up. (Don’t forget the embargo: America had to pay through the nose to replace the fuels on the open market — AND — rebuild facilities that cost more than the destroyed POL.
    The funding never came. It was the considered opinion of Congress that Thieu and his crew were to stupid/ foolish/ incompetent to throw any more money at.
    Then the wheels came off of the ARVN.
    Someone in the Taliban ranks seems to have been tipped off as to what went down in the mid-seventies.
    That Kabul permitted that many fuel trucks to concentrate — under the current threat — indicates a level of incompetence of epic scope.
    That the opfor was able to get explosives on so many trucks — is this Hogan’s Heroes for Idiots?
    And… was this an inside job?

  • irebukeu says:

    Replacements for those 400 trucks have already arrived in theatre. This article from the Washington Post Nov 8. 2012 had me shaking my head.
    Article title- ‘For Afghan troops, donkeys are the new helicopters’
    Folks, you cant make this stuff up
    From the article- ‘Last week, when U.S. troops visited a mountain outpost manned by Afghan soldiers, they saw two Afghan teenagers leading four donkeys. Each animal carried 10 gallons of water. The key fighting position, the Americans learned, was sustained exclusively by donkey.’
    Ok, sustained exclusively by donkey ? Does anyone want to guess how long that base will hold out under enemy siege?
    Again from the article ” You are the richest and most powerful country in the world. Of course you can afford helicopters. The best we can do is donkeys,” said 16-year-old Qamuddin, one of the donkey handlers. Like many Afghans, he uses only one name. “Without donkeys, there would be no Afghan army.
    ”If that is truly the case, the ANA are done.
    Do they make body armor for donkeys?


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