Taliban attack in Kabul kills 13 American soldiers

October 29, 2011

"These callous acts against civilians are just more examples of the insurgents’ murderous ways and lack of respect toward the Afghan people," Allen said. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen with Gen. David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. DoD photo

In a rare attack in the Afghan capital, and one that further demonstrates the precarious security gains in Afghanistan, 13 American personal and 4 Afghans were killed when their convoy was attacked on Saturday.

In the attack, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, an American armored vehicle, a Rhino, due to its immense size and armored plating, was rammed by a suicide car bomber. The attack, the single deadliest in Kabul since the war began, follows two other high profile attacks on NATO headquarters and the American Embassy in the Afghan capital last month.

As NATO strategy shifts in the coming months, and Afghan’s take over security from coalition forces throughout Afghanistan, the attacks appear aimed at undermining confidence in the abilities of Afghan’s to protect their own security interests.

The attack on Saturday, the single deadliest loss of life for American forces since an American helicopter ferrying 30 Americans was shot down by the Taliban back in August. The helicopter had many of the same soldiers on board who had taken part in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan back in May.

Additionally, the attack in Kabul takes place against the backdrop of other attacks mounted by Taliban forces. In the Uruzgan province in Southern Afghanistan, a man masquerading as an Afghan soldier opened fire on coalition forces killing three. And in the Konar province, a suicide bomber, whom some described as a teenage girl, detonating her bomb, in the process, wounding several.

Following Saturday’s car bombing, and other attacks throughout Afghanistan, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Gen. John Allen, who assumed command from Gen David Petraeus, had this to say, “The enemies of peace are not martyrs, but murderers.”

“To hide the fact that they are losing territory, support, and the will to fight, our common enemy continues to employ suicide attackers to kill innocent Afghan fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, as well as the Coalition forces who have volunteered to protect them,” Gen. Allen stressed.

Saturday’s attack on the American convoy leaves in serious doubt the abilities of the Afghan security forces to provide security for fellow Afghan’s in the capital, Kabul, and elsewhere. While American and coalition forces rarely conduct security in the capital, leaving that mission to the Afghan’s, the road is heavily traveled by coalition forces traveling between bases. An attack back in May of 2010 killed five U.S. personal.

Saturday’s attack demonstrates a change in tactics for the Taliban. Along with the car bombing and last month’s brazen attack on the U.S. Embassy that left a number of Taliban fighters dead, the Taliban are seemingly prepared to wage a prolonged insurgency against American and coalition forces.

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