Kabul Blast Kills 19, Wounds 52; 5 US Troops Dead

The BBC is reporting that Afghan guerrillas deployed a suicide car bomb against a NATO military convoy in west Kabul near the parliament building Tuesday morning, killing at least 19 persons and wounding 52. Five US troops are said among the dead.

MSNBC has a good video report:

The enormous fireball destroyed twenty vehicles. Spokesman for the Old Taliban of Mullah Omar, Zabihullah Mujahid, phoned AP to claim that a Kabul resident belonging to his organization was responsible.

Courtesy Radio Azadi

Radio Azadi reporting in Dari Persian says that Gen. Khalilullah Dastyar, aide to the security commander for Kabul province, revealed that a number of women, children and elderly persons were among the civilian dead. RA reports an eyewitness account: “My name is Ahmad Yaktan, resident of the capital. When the explosion occurred I was near this very place. I saw that a large number of persons were wounded or killed. Ambulances carried away the wounded, most of whom were local Afghans.”

Courtesy Radio Azadi

NATO convoys are often targeted in the countryside with roadside bombs and suicide attacks, but such an operation in that part of Kabul against a hard rather than a soft target is unusually bold and may show increased military capacity among the militants opposed to foreign troop presence in Afghanistan. This was said to be the deadliest assault on NATO soldiers in Kabul since last September.

The daring bombing comes at a time when Obama administration policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan appears to be unravelling, as detailed by Tom Engelhardt.

The attack in the capital follows a number of operations in the south and east of the country by guerrillas, including the assassination of a prominent Sunni Pashtun cleric in Kunar Province who had urged reconciliation with the Karzai government and the laying down of arms, as well as a motorcycle-bombing at a prison in the southern city of Qandahar, which killed 3.

Late last week a nighttime US raid in the eastern Nangarhar province that locals maintained had gone awry and killed innocents set off province-wide demonstrations demanding that the Yankees go home. This is the second time coordinated civilian protests were mounted in Nangarhar against the US military presence in recent weeks. Similar rallies were held in late April when the US killed the relative of a female member of parliament from the province.

There has apparently been continued hard fighting in Helmand Province in the country’s southwest, the site of the Marjah campaign this winter. The Defense Department’s recently released list of US troops killed shows 10 killed in action just last week, most of them in Helmand:

•Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Davis, 19, of Perry, Iowa, died May 7 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

•Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Rangel, 22, of San Antonio died May 6 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province.

•Army Capt. Kyle A. Comfort, 27, of Jacksonville, Ala., died May 8 in Helmand province of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit.

•Marine Cpl. Kurt S. Shea, 21, of Frederick, Md., died May 10 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province. This incident is under investigation.

•Army Spc. Jeremy L. Brown, 20, of McMinnville, Tenn., died May 9 at Contingency Outpost Zerok, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit.

•Two Marines died May 11 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province: Marine Cpl. Jeffery W. Johnson, 21, of Tomball, Texas; and Marine Sgt. Kenneth B. May, Jr., 26, of Kilgore, Texas.

•Marine Sgt. Donald J. Lamar II, 23, of Fredericksburg, Va., died May 12 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

•Marine Sgt. Joshua D. Desforges, 23, of Ludlow, Mass., died May 12 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province.

•Army Spc. Denis D. Kisseloff, 45, of Saint Charles, Mo., died May 14 at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using rocket propelled grenades and small arms fires.

This despite the confident assessment often heard in Washington that Marjah was a “success” on which a Qandahar campaign could now build. Marjah is a rural set of farm houses with a population in the tens of thousands, Qandahar a city of 800,000, the size of Detroit. NATO commanders see the planned campaign as essential to turn the tide against the Old Taliban, even though they admit that it is a purely Afghan political force and there is “zero al-Qaeda” in the area. That such an operation may turn Afghans in the region even more firmly against the US doesn’t seem to be contemplated.

Britain’s Channel Four reports on the increasing use by Americans and by Ahmad Wali Karzai of militias and irregular forces, some of which have engaged in lawlessness that further alienates the population:

For the impact of these wars on the troops, see PBS Frontline Tuesday in the US (ad to the right).

Posted in Afghanistan | 14 Responses | Print |

14 Responses

  1. Just about nine years in the Afghaniscam. For US military. Just about nine. Gen. Stan McChrystal says “it’s a draw.” If that’s not psychotic and insane, what might be?

  2. There is a signature disrespect for Nature and the World with every act of violence. The circumstances are such that people must learn to work together to keep the planet a living place. I don’t know how that carries over to all the religions and ways of thinking of nations around the world but the need to stop fighting and redirect the efforts of industry and just about every other aspect of people’s efforts toward what amounts to the common good couldn’t be higher. Atmospheric content of greenhouse gasses is beyond what will likely cause irreversible collapse of biological systems keeping the Earth a habitable place and ways must be found to reestablish the infrastructures which will not only reverse the situation but be seen beneficial to all.

  3. .
    After following the link to Tom Dispatch, and links from there to the LA Times, I am inclined to ask if it fair to characterize the Times Square bombing attempt as a “manned drone attack” in response to unmanned drone attacks.

    NeoCon advocates of endless war have complained about how our poorly armed adversaries rely on asymmetric tactics to overcome their weaknesses. Should they be happy now with this new quasi-symmetry ?

  4. Professor Cole, I should admit first I’m a long-time reader on your blog, but have never posted. I should admit to being a strong supporter of Israel and do not, generally, agree with your conclusions. But I must complement you. Yours is a meaty website full of information. This story was barely touched on Drudge, Daily Dish, Daily Kos, National Review Online. Left or right essentially ignores what is happening in Iraq and in Kabul. Our dumbed down news media ignores the rest of the world for the most part. Your website consistently strives to provide some of the news that is neglected and puts it into context. Keep up the good work.


  5. Bill for Afghan war could run into the trillions link to rawstory.com

    I wish the Tea Party would oppose the Afghan war on the issue of government spending..but, no, they’re too busy crying about welfare and healthcare spending which pals in comparison to war spending. But on the other hand I wish democrats would oppose the war too.

  6. Professor Cole:
    When Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, USA & Britain & some other countries helped the mujahidin to fight against Soviets, and eventually soviets have to withdraw from Afghanistan.

    Is it possible that Russians are helping the afghan insurgents to fight against Coalition and American forces in Afghanistan to get even with Americans? Would you please shed some light on this subject?

    • No, the Russians want NATO to succeed because they fear the debilitating effects on their youth of Afghan heroin.

  7. Paen. The wars will continue until someone finds a paradigm where peace is as efficient a mechanism for looting the taxpayers as the wars themselves are.

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