Afghan Civilians Killed In Taliban Suicide Attack On US Military Convoy

REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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A suicide bomb attack on a U.S. military convoy in eastern Afghanistan did not hurt any American troops, but killed at least one Afghan civilian and wounded several others, officials said.

The bombing occurred Monday evening in Pul-e-Alam — the capital of Logar province — as the U.S. convoy was driving past a school, provincial police spokesman Shahpur Ahmadzai told local media. American forces were reportedly returning to their base after conducting an operation in a neighboring district when a vehicle-borne suicide bomber detonated nearby.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, Stars and Stripes reported.

Afghan authorities offered conflicting accounts about the number of civilian casualties. Army officials said the blast had killed one woman and left three other women and one child wounded. But Haseeb Stanikzai, the head of the Logar provincial council, told Pajhwok News Agency that five civilians were killed, including one woman and one child.

Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, confirmed that a mounted U.S. patrol had come under attack and sustained minor damage to a vehicle, but was unable to confirm the number of civilian casualties.

“If true, our thoughts go out to the families of the innocent, who continue to suffer needlessly from the Taliban’s violence and their refusal to listen to the call of the Afghan people and take the courageous step towards long-lasting peace,” O’Donnell said in a statement, according to Stars and Stripes.

The attack comes as the Taliban and Afghan government forces have resumed hostilities after a short-lived ceasefire to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fasting season. Some Afghan officials had hoped the respite would lead to peace talks and a reduction in violence, but the Taliban have pressed forward with their summer fighting campaign, striking government forces throughout the country.

The U.S.-led NATO coalition and partner Afghan forces have had little lasting success against the Taliban, despite additional deployments of American troops and increased airstrikes. The insurgency still controls many of the country’s rural areas and can carry out attacks in urban centers with impunity. (RELATED: The Taliban Almost Took Over An Afghan City, Proving That It’s Far From ‘Losing Ground’)

At least 30 Afghan soldiers were killed in June when Taliban fighters overran an Afghan National Army base in the western province of Badghis. The Taliban briefly took over a large part of the western city of Farah from Afghan forces in May, requiring an emergency response from American commandos and close air support.

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