Kabul, Sept. 1: An attack by two suicide bombers just outside an American military outpost in Wardak province at daybreak today killed at least a dozen Afghans and wounded 58 others, according to Afghan and American officials. Several American soldiers were also wounded.
The same military base suffered a devastating truck bombing last year on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. That earlier assault on the base, known as Combat Outpost Sayed Abad, resulted in one of the worst tolls for foreign troops in a single attack in the war, with 77 Americans wounded and five Afghans killed, and was attributed to the Haqqani Taliban network. The attack proved especially significant because it was one of a handful of high-profile assaults that led American officials to publicly accuse ISI of supporting the Haqqani network in attacking US targets.
According to Afghan officials, the attack today started with a suicide bomber on foot detonating his explosives at a nearby police headquarters and ended with the detonation of a large cache of explosives being driven toward the base in a truck. The explosions occurred along a tight stretch of road that is home not only to the military outpost and the district police headquarters, but also to a crowded shopping bazaar. A spokesman for the American-led coalition said the truck bombing was near the bazaar and many of the Afghan victims were killed there.
Among the Afghans who died, eight were civilians and four were police officers, Afghan government officials said. One Afghan Parliament member from Wardak, Hamida Akbari, placed the death toll at 14, including six members of the Afghan security forces. The Afghans who were wounded included a woman, a child and three officers of the Afghan national spy agency, the National Directorate for Security.
The Taliban, who in recent weeks have repeatedly denied involvement in other deaths for which they were blamed by the Afghan authorities, quickly took responsibility for this attack. A Taliban spokesman said the target was the military outpost, which he noted was the same base targeted last year. He neither confirmed nor denied whether the Haqqani network had carried out the latest attack.