Afghanistan: Suicide Bombings Increase


October 12, 2005: When they get the chance, the Taliban seems to have been undertaking coordinated ambushes of late. The pattern apparently is that they set up a series of ambushes along the route they suspect an Afghan or Coalition patrol will pass - or perhaps have intel about. They let the patrol through one or two of the ambushes, and hit it with the second or third trap. That way, they can hit any relief column that approaches by the same route, or re-ambush the patrol as it tries to press on or retrace its steps. This trick probably won't work too often, especially now that it's become apparent that's what they're up to.

At least one prominent Taliban leader seems to be quietly urging the rest of the leadership to accept "amnesty and reconciliation" with the new Afghan government. Reportedly former Justice Minister Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the most radical clerics during the Taliban regime (he supervised the religious police and directed the destruction of the two giant sandstone statues of the Buddha in Bamian), he is working with great caution, as he fears assassination by even more extreme elements.

October 11, 2005: In the south, Taliban ambushed a police convoy, killing 19 policemen.

October 10, 2005: Russia is contributing this year four helicopters, several dozens military vehicles, and communications and other gear, to the Afghan military. The value of these items is some $30 million.

Accident investigators have found evidence of hostile gunfire in the wreckage of an American helicopter that went down last month, leaving five U.S. troops dead. It was first thought the cause of failure was mechanical.

In Kandahar, two more suicide bombings took place, one of them killing a former militia commander. There have been five suicide bombings in the pro-Taliban city in the last two weeks.

October 9, 2005: An American soldiers was killed by a landmine (which may have been in the ground over a decade), and was the 200th American soldier killed in Afghanistan during four years of fighting. There have been 18-20,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan throughout that period, making the American casualty rate exceptionally low, especially considering the combativeness of the Taliban and the aggressiveness of American patrolling.

For the second time in a week, a suicide car bomber attacked Westerners in Kandahar. This time, four Britons were wounded.

October 6, 2005: During a battle between American troops and Taliban, a carload of Afghan police drove into the area and were fired on by the Americans, leaving four policemen dead. Soldiers and police often drive around in unmarked vehicles, and the cops sometimes wear civilian clothes.


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