Amidst a time line to withdraw NATO and US troops by 2014, the Taliban, linked to the Haqqani network in Pakistan, have again penetrated NATO defences. A suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying NATO troops, killed 13 foreign troops. It was earlier reported that all 13 soldiers were American, but the Canadian Department of Defence has confirmed that one of the troops was Canadian. The attack also killed four Afghans. In a separate attack in southern Afghanistan three Australian soldiers were killed and another seven injured. The bomb, which was contained in a car was detonated at 11:20 local time. This is the deadliest attack since the downed chopper that killed 38 US troops, including 22 Navy Seals, in August.
Earlier on Saturday there was another suicide attack in Kunar province. Fortunately the guards outside the targeted intelligence building became suspicious of a female suicide bomber and opened fire, when she blew herself up. There were no other casualties.
The Taliban have taken responsibility for the attack. In a text message to AFP, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, “A suicide car bomb attack was carried out on a bus of foreign forces in the Darulaman area of Kabul.”
Taliban attacks have increased in Afghanistan during recent months. The Taliban claimed responsibility of an attack on a compound in Kandahar, housing Western officials and military personnel, on Thursday. The attack ended after a 15 hour battle.
During the past months, Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI) has been accused of supporting and coordinating Taliban attacks into Afghanistan. Among the accusers was outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen. Pakistan has denied this.
As NATO starts its draw down of troops, the question still remains if Afghanistan is ready to look after its own security. The recent Taliban activity, despite the killing of key leaders by US drones, seems to be able to attack at will. Will a NATO withdrawal result in a takeover of the Taliban? These are all questions to be answered.