Twin suicide bombings outside a American military base rocked a troubled district in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, killing at least seven and injuring dozens outside a base hit by a similar attack one year ago, according to a provincial government official.
A suicide bomber blew himself up just after 6 a.m. outside the district governor?s office in Sayad Abad district of Wardak province. Soon after, a massive truck bomb exploded outside an adjacent American military base, killing at least seven, injuring nearly 50, and destroying a mosque and some local residential buildings, according to Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Wardak provincial government.
The U.S. base, Combat Outpost Sayed Abad, was also attacked with a truck bomb that injured nearly 80 U.S. troops on Sept. 11, 2011, and the district was the site of the deadliest incident of the war, the shoot down of a Chinook Helicopter that killed 30 American troops in August 2011.
Among the dead Saturday were four Afghan National Policemen, according to Shahidullah, who said he expects casualties to rise as rescuers pick through the rubble of buildings flattened by the truck bomb, which was hidden in an oil tanker.
The Taliban quickly claimed credit for the attack, and spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the first bomber was a distraction to help the truck ram through a checkpoint on the way to the American base and that there were many casualties within the base. The Taliban often exaggerate the impact of their attacks.
Coalition officials said there were no U.S. fatalities in the attack. Spokesman Charlie Stadtlander confirmed that there were injuries, but said it is against policy to report numbers or severity. He said the bomber did not get inside the base but did not release further details.
As the U.S. and their Coalition partners work to transition security responsibility to Afghans ahead of the 2014 deadline to withdraw foreign combat troops, spectacular attacks like this threaten to undermine confidence in the Afghan security forces? ability to operate independently.