2007 deadliest year for US in Afghanistan

Um, didn’t we just hear identical news about Iraq? If Cambodia was Nixon’s “sideshow” to Vietnam, Afghanistan is Bush’s to Iraq—largely eclipsed from the headlines, even as it goes from really bad to considerably worse… From AP, Nov. 10:

KABUL — Six U.S. troops were killed when insurgents ambushed their foot patrol in the high mountains of eastern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday. The attack, the most lethal against American forces this year, made 2007 the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.

The troops were returning from a meeting with village elders late Friday afternoon in Nuristan province when militants attacked them with rocket propelled grenades and gunfire, Lt. Col. David Accetta told The Associated Press.

“They were attacked from several enemy positions at the same time,” said Accetta, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and the U.S. military. “It was a complex ambush.”

The six deaths brings the total number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this year to at least 101, according to a count by the AP. That makes this year the deadliest for Americans here since the 2001 invasion, a war initially launched to oust Taliban and al-Qaida fighters after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, but one that has evolved into an increasingly bloody counterinsurgency campaign…

Three Afghan soldiers were also killed in Friday’s ambush, while eight Americans and 11 Afghans were wounded. The 14 total U.S. casualties was the highest number of wounded and killed from a battle in Afghanistan this year, Accetta said.

“With Sunday being Veterans Day, this is a reminder of the sacrifices that our troops and our Afghan partners make for the peace and stability of the Afghan people,” Accetta said.

Overall violence in Afghanistan this year has been the deadliest since the Taliban’s ouster. More than 5,800 people, mostly militants, have died in insurgency-related violence, according to an AP count based on figures from Afghan and Western officials.

Glad that “peace and stability of the Afghan people” is working out so well, colonel.

Also very comforting to see the war spreading to mountain-locked Nuristan, until recently a remote refuge from the storm.

Mohammad Daoud Nadim, Nuristan deputy police chief, said the ambush happened in the remote province’s Waygal district, about 40 miles from the border with Pakistan, which militants are known to use as a sanctuary. Nadim said he had no information on any casualties among the militants.

Arabs and other foreign fighters from Chechnya and Uzbekistan are known to operate in the Nuristan region, but the region’s governor, Tamin Nuristani, blamed the attack on Taliban militants. Nuristani said the combined troops searched two houses after the meeting with village elders and were ambushed after while walking to their base afterward.

Nuristan province has seen heavy fighting in recent months. Two U.S. soldiers were killed and 13 wounded by a militant ambush in July, while militants disguised in Afghan army uniforms wounded 11 U.S. troops and killed two Afghan soldiers in August.

See our last post on Afghanistan.

  1. Taliban claims suicide blast
    From Xinhua, Nov. 19:

    The Taliban purported spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the Taliban was responsible for the Monday morning’s suicide blast outside the governor house in southwestern Nimruz provincial capital of Zaranj.

    Talking to Xinhua from an unknown location, Ahmadi said the bomber, named Nematullah, was from the Taliban and the explosion targeting Nimruz governor Ghulam Dastagir Azad killed one of the governor’s sons.

    “A total of 30 people were killed or injured in the powerful blast, which also destroyed five vehicles and even damaged some buildings’ part about 1 km away,” Ahmadi said…

    A man exploded himself outside the governor’s house compound in Zaranj, killing one of the governor’s son and six security bodyguards, injuring some 14 other bodyguards and civilians Monday morning, Governor Ghulam Dastagir Azad earlier told Xinhua.