Kabul Bombing of US Bus Leaves 13 Dead

The Taliban claimed credit for a bombing of a bus in Kabul, which killed 13 US security personnel (apparently 5 US troops and 8 security contractors). Three innocent bystanders, Afghans and a policemen, were also killed.

Military officers focused on the big picture hate stories like this one, because, they say, ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ without reference to whether it tells us anything about who is winning the war. In that regard, the bombing seems to me significant because it had to be based on an insider’s information. How many supposed Aghanistan National Army troops are actually sympathetic to the Taliban? The incident raises these questions of who is actually in control.

Aljazeera English reports:

To get a sense of how the event was covered locally, consider this translation by the USG Open Source from a Pashto newspaper:

‘ Some 16 foreign troops killed in separate incidents in Afghan capital, south
Afghan Islamic Press
Saturday, October 29, 2011…

Text of report by private Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency

Kabul, 29 October: Sixteen soldiers of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) have been killed in two separate incidents. Sixteen soldiers of the ISAF were killed in separate attacks in southern Kandahar Province and in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday (29 October). According to reports, a car bomb attack was carried out on a foreign military convoy in the Dar-ul Aman area of capital Kabul today.

The ISAF in a statement said that a car bomb attack was carried out in Kabul and preliminary information indicates that 13 ISAF soldiers were killed. The statement said that civilians also sustained casualties in the incident. The interior ministry in a statement said that a suicide attack was carried out through a Corolla vehicle on a coalition military convoy in the Dar-ul Aman area of Kabul at around 1130 hours (0700 gmt) today, killing three civilians and a policeman.

Spokesman for the Taleban Zabihollah Mojahed claimed responsibility for the attack and told AIP that the attack was carried out by a Taleb named Abdol Rahman Hazarboz through a Land Cruiser vehicle in which 700 kg of explosives were placed. Mojahed added that 25 senior foreign (military) officers were killed and many others were wounded in the attack. Many ISAF soldiers have been killed from time to time over the past some years. Thirty-one US special forces members were killed when a Chinook helicopter was shot down by the Taleban on 6 August in Wardag Province. But, it is the first time that so many soldiers have lost their lives in a suicide attack.

Also, an Afghan soldier killed three coalition soldiers in the southern Kandahar Province of Afghanistan today. A statement issued by the ISAF said that a person, wearing the national army uniform, fired shots at Afghan and coalition soldiers today, killing two coalition soldiers, and another ISAF soldier later succumbed to injuries. The commander of Military Corps No 205 in the south, Gen Abdol Hamid, also said that three ISAF soldiers were killed in the incident and told AIP that an Afghan soldier opened fire on internal and foreign soldiers today, killing two ISAF soldiers and an Afghan interpreter.

He said that eight ISAF and one Afghan soldier were also wounded in the attack and an ISAF soldier later succumbed to injuries. The ISAF and Gen Abdol Hamid said that the soldier who attacked them was also shot dead. Military observers say that foreign military causalities caused on Saturday in Afghanistan are very high. They say that as the US has expressed its willingness for talks with the Taleban, these attacks by the Taleban at such a critical time show that the Taleban are not willing to hold talks and still believe that a military approach can resolve Afghanistan’s issue and they can achieve victory in the battlefield. It is worth pointing out that today’s casualties of NATO in Afghanistan brought the total number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan this month [sic, should be ‘year’] to 514.

(Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto — Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans, that describes itself as an independent “news agency” but whose history and reporting pattern reveal a perceptible pro-Taliban bias; the AIP’s founder-director, Mohammad Yaqub Sharafat, has long been associated with a mujahidin faction that merged with the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate” led by Mullah Omar; subscription required to access content; http://www.afghanislamicpress.com)’

20 Responses

  1. A better title for this post would have been “Kabul Bombing of US Bus Leaves 13 *Americans* Dead.” According to the Guardian, the total death toll was 17.

  2. Another blip on the radar that will get very little coverage,unless it can be used as an example of why the US should remain in Afghanistan.

    My sympathy to the parents and families of those who lost their lives NOT defending this nation.

  3. “the total number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan this month to 514″

    I assume someone meant “total killed this year”, as in the total for 2011 is 512.

    • Nobel Peace Prize Laureate-in-Chief Obama has managed to achieve twice as many coalition deaths in Afghanistan on his 3 year watch as Bush managed to get killed in seven.

  4. “today’s casualties of NATO in Afghanistan brought the total number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan this month to 514.”

    Think that should be 514 killed “this year.”

  5. Seems to me, having read reporting, and subsequent Sonorous Resounding Pronouncements of Gritty Determination Not to Be Deterred, of similar incidents for maybe 55 years now (including my time in Vietnam,) the purpose of the reportage is most often simply to provoke a juicy, self-righteous flow of vengeance. With the goal being to create and further a self-sustaining casus belli: “They kill some of us, so we kill some of them, so they kill some of us, so we kill some of them, so they kill some of us…” A repeating decimal, like Pi, though nowhere near as useful or well-defined.

    Leading to the inescapable conclusion that “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here,” and that’s all the justification OUR warlords need to keep the wealth of the nation flooding into their complex Networked Universal Battlespace idiot’s dream.

    Leading further to some ineluctable drive to punch the Tar Baby with the other fist, then both feet, and finally to add a concussive head-butt that scatters whatever little bit of wits the nation might collectively ever have had.

    Prof. Cole, do you have any insight into what “winning” means, or “victory,” or “success?” Any reference to help the rest of us digest and focus on, from behind the trumpeting of the jingoists and “patriots,” the real nature of the game they get to force, or sucker, all the rest of us into playing, or at least providing the huge, debilitating dumps of wealth that make it all logistically possible? To the point that there can be any kind of sensible (I will not say “rational,” given the abilities of so many pundits and armchair generals and Great Game aficionados to construct “rationales” for entire “campaigns” against “the enemy” on their very own pinheads) thinking and eventually action regarding the stupid and futile World of Warcraft/Call of Duty behaviors of our Captains of Military Industry and our would-be “War Presidents” and Hoo-ah “Love those campaign contributions” Congresscritters?

    Just asking, of course… knowing that what we have is likely the best that we humans can manage.

    • Success in Afghanistan is the achievement of a situation in which the US can leave without the country returning to a situation in which the government once again allies with, and puts the resources of the state into the hands of, al Qaeda – that is, to the status quo in September 2001.

      • Joe, so glad you have your “enemy” so clearly in mind. And a “remedy” for the “threat” you ascribe to “him.”

        And I guess you and I read and hear (and obviously believe) very different stuff about both the Scale and Scope and Nature of “al Quaeda,” and the nature of the 2001 “government of Notagainistan’s alliance with and support of that thing we love to quiver about, al Quaeda,” an “enemy” it sure seems to me that “our government” in its faulty gamesmanship and incompetence (at all levels) largely created, maintains the conditions for it to prosper, and is trying to use a world-sized hammer to squash a little fuzzy bug that would be better addressed by a squirt of more effective plain old local, as opposed to “world,” police work. The former being the way that most of the interceptions of “terrorist actions” have been accomplished, since “we” seem to be so omni-incompetent in keeping buildings and navy ships and busloads and barracksloads of GIs safe from the horror-movie outcomes that feed our fears and impoverish us morally and financially.

        • Ah, “so” now “it’s” not considered “acceptable” to consider “al” Qaeda to be “a” “problem.” Gotcha.

          I do love “Notagainistan,” though. The name of the country is Afghanistan, thanks. It’s a place with it’s own history and politics, worthy of being looked and and considered in its own right, and not merely a screen for you to project your pre-existing, ahistorical, 40-years-stale notions about American politics.

          For my part, I actually consider it a good thing that this administration is actually focusing our counter-terror efforts on the particular group that attacked us.

          But, then, I believe that the people who carried out the 9/11 attacks are actual terrorists, not scare-quote “terrorists,” and that they are our enemies, not merely “enemies,” and that a group willing and capable of carrying out such an attack represent a threat, not merely a “threat.”

          Why, I even go so far as to believe that the United States – yes! Even the evil, terrible, awful United States! – has the right to defend itself against terrorism.

          that would be better addressed by a squirt of more effective plain old local, as opposed to “world,” police work. And this is where your determination not to anything about Afghanistan, other than as an ink blot for your own feelings about the Vietnam War, leads you astray. It is precisely because this particular terrorist group had the resources of a sovereign nation at its disposal that it achieved the international scope and outsized capacities that, prior to the successes of the Obama administration, made it different from other terrorist groups, and required a different response.

  6. The number of Americans killed has been revised to 9, four of whom were soldiers.

    The even bigger question is why our military has seemingly no ability to adjust to changing conditions. When things aren’t working, you have to be willing to change. You can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different outcome.

    • Our military has been adapting, especially since the change in administrations.

      But the fact is, they’re up against a very capable, resourceful enemy that is, itself, able to adapt. We’re not talking about Saddam’s Uday-commanded conscript army.

      They’re going to score some victories.

  7. Master Corporal Byron Greff was a member of
    Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry regiment .
    Not American . Not a merc “contractor”.
    Learn some facts , and show some respect .
    The PPCLI has a history – Korea for instance .
    Presidential Unit Citations are rarely awarded to foreigners .
    Australian and Canadian soldiers covered the flanks when the US retreated from Frozen Chosen .
    Canadian Forces will provide cover for the retreat from Afghanistan ,
    of course , so please , declare victory before the USA looses all respect from its friends .
    M.Cpl Greff will be honoured in Canada – his repatriation will be seen on TV , if his family gives the OK .
    Every highway overpass between Trenton and Toronto will have people standing in the cold .
    This Canadian is not happy with the American propaganda machine which hides casualties and ignores the existence of others’ sacrifice .

    • For Ted: Sir, I think you are getting angry at the wrong creature.

      This ex-GI has zero use for post mortem “respect” and “honor” professed by stay-at-homes, tuned in only to the propaganda machinery, for those mutilated and killed on a fool’s mission. It sickens me that our cynical leaders, having hidden the deaths of so many volunteer warriors for a decade, now use their PR skills to set up show corteges from places like MacDill AFB to funerals for Our Brave Ones who have given The Last Full Measure, carried between rows of pre-positioned flags and a few “patriotic” civilians and the obligatory honor guard to their Final Resting Place.

      The “nation” needs to exalt valor, sacrifice, heedless obedience to orders, willingness to accept “the mission” and attempt to perform whatever tactical actions the Brass and the geopoliticians come up with. And in so many cases, to take the license given by the fog of war to form “kill squads” and “light up” non-combatants and all the rest. Endless taking and retreating from and re-taking Porkchop Hill and the next trench over. Ever since the old Cro-Magnon chief in the back of the cave said “Someone’s got to go out there and kill that Neanderthal that’s been eating our women and children,” and the most testosterone-poisoned young men all growl and grab their spears and CHARGE!

      There may be some military actions justifiable on the ground that they actually improve the chances for the species’ survival. Your military leadership, and ours, have a lot of different games going, including the simple one of justifying the continued existence and increase of their realm, the military, by picking and participating in others’ fights. Like unarguably valorous, and gleefully murderous, participation by Australian and Korean units in my idiot’s exercise, Vietnam, where lots of medals were awarded for “valor,” extending from paper cuts, to jumping on live grenades, to flying overhead and managing the battlespace.

      I took a couple of armed-and-fearful rides on buses and deuce-and-a-halfs, out among the people whose hearts and minds we were winning by napalming their villages and assassinating their chiefs, into the landscape of ambush and command-detonated mines. Maybe I have a sense of what some of the Afghan people feel, and for the “valor” that goes into those fearful truck rides in hostile terrain. There is a huge difference, far as I can tell, between the propaganda mythology that creates that affection for and attraction of young males (and now females) going “where men win glory,” and the reality of day-to-day occupation and kick-in-the-door patrolling and of course joystick-Hellfiring.

      From the little I read in our propaganda, Canada’s military forces are just like ours — coming up with endless new “threats” that just HAVE to be countered if the Great Nation is going to Survive, or endless forays into the field of Provocation, all in the name of justifying transfers of huge wealth, at an increasing pace, to fund a parasitic culture that parallels and apes in its quiescent corners the “civilian” culture it pretextually “protects.” In the poet’s phrase, the despair of “To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!” link to artofeurope.com

      So please don’t get peeved at one among millions of little failures of reporting on valor and attribution to the wrong unit. It’s another old tradition that goes right along with the others.

      • Interesting comment to one whose PEI dad fought in the Canadian Army in WWI and [correctly] always believed Canada [and the US] were on the wrong side in that one… [reflect a bit on the meanings and possibilities of that]…

        The current ever farther right government in Ottawa is as hell-bend as ever a Bush was…

  8. No mention of Obama’s surge, and its security objectives he was crowing about back in June?

    He ‘bought’ the war with the surge, didn’t he? What did we get in return?

  9. Am Afghan news agency with a perceptible pro-Taliban bias? Perhaps they should be bombed as Al-Jazeera has been in the past?

    How fortunate we are in having a fair minded and unbiased news source like the NYT who have already assigned responsibility to Pakistan’s Haqqani network, described as “a criminal clan, like a Sicilian family clan, who are into criminal activity of all types, drug dealing, smuggling as well as insurgency.”

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