While the ISAF has delayed its much publicized Kandahar offensive, once again, the Taliban aren’t waiting around on the defensive. The Taliban continue to attack the ISAF, and they’re attacking them where they live, in broad daylight.
Afghan Taliban-linked militants launched a bold daytime attack on a NATO airfield outside the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, setting off a car bomb and firing light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades in a battle that killed at least eight militants and wounded two coalition personnel.
The attack comes at a delicate time for the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF), just days before US General David Petraeus arrives to assume command after the ouster of US General Stanley McChrystal for insubordination. Coalition casualties are also climbing: as The Christian Science Monitor reported, June has been the deadliest month of the nine-year war for coalition troops, with 101 soldiers killed.
Wednesday’s battle began when a car bomb went off at the entrance to Jalalabad airfield, 78 miles east of the Afghan capital of Kabul near the border with Pakistan. The explosion was followed by a 30-minute gun battle with militants, says the Associated Press. Eight attackers were killed and two coalition personnel were wounded, including one Afghan soldier and one international soldier.
The New York Times reports that the attack was similar in style to the attack on Bagram Air Base in May, when a suicide bomber driving a car detonated his explosives at a gate to the base, clearing the way for Taliban fighters to enter the complex.
The BBC reports that militants attacked the Jalalabad base from multiple directions in what it calls “a commando-style raid,” a more sophisticated tactic that the Taliban has increasingly relied on to deliver heavier civilian and military casualties.
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When Taliban Attack
Although, so far, the Taliban haven’t been able to cause any substantial damage or casualties or successfully breach the perimeter of any of the major ISAF bases that they’ve brazenly attacked recently, they have shown sophistication in planning the attacks and they’ve been extremely persistent. All it will take is for the Taliban to breach the perimeter of just one of these bases and get their militants inside to cause a lot of mayhem and score a huge propaganda victory, along the lines of the Viet Cong getting inside the wall of the U.S. embassy in Saigon during the Tet Offensive. Tactically, it was nothing, strategically, it meant everything, in terms of propaganda.
/all I can say is that it’s a good thing that the Taliban don’t have access to any air power, they’re giving our coalition forces enough trouble on the ground
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: Afghan Soldier, Afghanistan, Airfield, Attack, Bagram Air Base, Car Bomb, Civilian Casualties, Coalition Personnel, Commando-Style Raid, David Petraeus, Defensive, Eastern Afghanistan, Explosives, International Security And Assistance Force, International Soldier, ISAF, Jalalabad, Jalalabad Airfield, Josef Blotz, Kandahar, Light Weapons, Militants, Military Casualties, Multiple Directions, NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Offensive, Rocket Propelled Grenade, RPG, Sophisticated Tactic, Stanley McChrystal, Suicide Bomber, Taliban, Taliban Fighters, VBIED, Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device | 2 Comments »