A 60-person Afghan Army unit stationed in southern Afghanistan was near totally wiped out by a new Taliban suicide tactic Thursday.
The Taliban’s new tactic involves taking stolen humvees from the Afghan National Security Forces, packing them full of explosives, then using them to breach and destroy outposts.”We think the militants used an explosive-packed Humvee vehicle to detonate the gate of the base and we are looking to see if there was more than one,” an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman told AFP, adding “unfortunately there is nothing left inside the camp.”
Forty-three soldiers in the 60-person unit were killed, nine were wounded, and an additional six are missing. The near total rout follows one of the deadliest days in the Afghan war’s history when 71 security personnel and civilians were killed Tuesday across two different Afghan provinces with similar suicide tactics.
The Taliban offensive follows a commitment from President Donald Trump not to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan until conditions on the ground merit doing so. Trump declared his commitment to Afghan security in an Aug 21 address and authorized Secretary of Defense James Mattis to deploy an additional 3000 U.S. personnel to the country.
The Trump administration insists its new strategy of placing significant diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Taliban safe havens, combined with aggressive U.S. aerial rules of engagement, and robust support to the Afghan National Security Forces can drive the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson underpinned this message in a Wednesday speech telling the Taliban, “We’ll be here as long as it takes until you change your mind,” echoing August remarks telling the group “you will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you.”
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