Up to 89 US special troops injured in Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan
September 11, 2011, 1:33 PM (GMT+02:00)
A suicide bomber blew up a truck packed with 9,000 kilograms of explosives at the entrance to a NATO Combat Outpost Sayed Abad base in central Afghanistan's Wardak province Saturday, Sept. 10. The attack took place as America marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11and New York and Washington DC were on terror alert for a vehicle-borne strike.
The base targeted serves US Special Forces in Afghanistan. The ISAF (NATO) communiqué reported that at least 77 servicemen were injured in the attack at the compound entrance without explaining the almost 24-hour delay in its publication. The US Army spokesman Maj. David Eastburn later reported "89 wounded in action." There were no details of the injuries excepting that "all are being treated and none is immediately life threatening."
US sources said the injury toll was one of the worst for foreign forces in a single incident in the decade-long war.
The statement added: "The impact to the compound is readily repairable and operations are continuing."
An Afghan police officer and four civilians were killed, including a girl in a village half a mile away from the blast, and two Afghan police officers and an intelligence officer wounded.
The Taliban statement said the attack was carried out by a Paktia resident from east Afghanistan who "blew up his truck stuffed with some 9,000 kilos of explosives" and that at least 50 US soldiers were killed or seriously injured. Local witnesses were quoted as seeing helicopters landing at the blast scene and taking off more than 16 times airlifting corpses and casualties.
debkafile's military sources add: The Sayed Abad region is the scene of the Talban missile ambush which downed a US Chinook on Aug. 6 causing the deaths of 30 Americans, 6 of whom were members of the Seals unit which killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2. Seven Afghan army commandos and a local translator died in the helicopter crash.
The US reported at the time that the Seals aboard the Ch-47 were not necessarily members of Bin Laden hit team.
debkafile's military sources: Talban has focused its most recent campaign on US special operations forces who are bearing the brunt of the Afghanistan war.
At a conference on terrorism in Washington, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the US and the US, said the Obama administration should have used the bin Laden killing to declare victory and quickly withdraw from Afghanistan. Today, it faces an increasingly nationalist uprising.
The conference was held last week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies for the 9/11 commemoration..
The Saudi prince said: "The killing of bin Laden has not gotten the accolades it deserves…. It would have been the perfect moment when your president can say we've done it… this is the timetable that we've set for withdrawal of troops… But it hasn’t happened that way."
He went on to say: "I don't mean withdrawing your embassy, your economic aid or your other support, but having troops on the ground in Afghanistan has never succeeded."
He warned that the Afghan people will not accept foreign troops… It's not just the Pashtuns who are fighting back against the Americans, now it is gaining a nationwide complexion."
Asked if US efforts toward talks with Taliban leader Mullah Omar would bear fruit, the Saudi prince replied: "I think now frankly Mullah Omar is extraneous. …He is probably somewhere in Pakistan, not even in Afghanistan and it is becoming more of a national resistance movement to the presence of foreign troops. So Mullah Omar will be one of many… conducting the resistance."