Posts Tagged ‘suicide bomber’
A suicide bomber yesterday killed 17 people, including five US soldiers and eight British and American civilian contractors, when he drove a minibus packed with explosives into the side of a military bus in Kabul in one of the deadliest attacks inside the city since the conflict began.
The explosion hurled the heavily armoured bus into the air, engulfing it in a fireball as it travelled in a convoy of armoured vehicles towards a nearby Nato base in the southwest of the Afghan capital.
Thick black smoke poured from the side of the bus as it lay on its side opposite Kabul’s American University and Darulaman palace, the bombed-out seat of Afghanistan’s former kings and presidents.
The victims included five American soldiers, a Canadian soldier, five American civilian contractors, two British contractors, an Afghan policeman and three Afghan civilians. Two children were among the wounded.
Ambulances and fire engines sped to the scene as Nato soldiers treated some of the casualties. The twisted frame of a motorcycle lay among the charred metal fragments that littered the road.
“There was a huge explosion and I turned to see a massive cloud of smoke rising into the air,” said Mokhtar Aria, who works as a mechanic. “The bus was on fire. I watched them pulling the bodies from it.”
Two Nato helicopters landed to evacuate the dead and wounded to a military hospital near Kabul. Later, witnesses saw US soldiers carry three black body bags from the bus before lifting out another badly charred body from the burnt-out wreckage.
Another witness said he saw the badly charred bodies of US soldiers inside the military bus, known as a Rhino because of its heavy armour. In accordance with usual practice, none of the military victims has been named.
Throughout yesterday, French and American bomb disposal units conducted a forensic examination of the area while Afghan intelligence officials scoured the site for evidence. A military guard dog was also killed in the blast.
As Nato cordoned off the surrounding streets, the wounded were rushed to Kabul’s Estiqlal hospital. Among them was Ali Ahmad, 9, who was yesterday recovering.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, although in the past the Haqqani network, the most lethal insurgent force in Afghanistan, has been blamed for similar high-profile attacks in the capital. Read the rest of this entry »
By the time the teenage Taliban member had completed his training as a suicide bomber and reached the 30-strong fighting unit to which he had been assigned, he was so indoctrinated that all he could think about was killing himself and taking as many infidels with him as possible.
Changing location every night to avoid detection, the 19-year-old waited for the delivery of the explosive vest that he would strap to his chest before blowing himself up next to an American convoy.
“Of course I wasn’t scared. I was proud I was going to become a shaheed [martyr]. I knew that if I martyred myself killing American soldiers, then I’d taste eternity,” said the young man, who gave his name as Toryelai.
He has yet to launch his attack, however. The commander of his Taliban unit, a 42-year-old who called himself Mullah Aminullah, has told him that to do so would be un-Islamic.
“The Koran teaches that your life is a gift from Allah and you should struggle to preserve this life at all costs. Suicide is 100% haram [forbidden],” Aminullah said.
The story of Toryelai, which highlights divisions among insurgents over suicide bombing, begins with a 10-year-old boy whose father has been shot dead while fighting the Taliban’s enemies in the Northern Alliance. The body was “covered in blood” when the Taliban brought it to the family home for burial. Read the rest of this entry »
The Sunday Times
By Christina Lamb and Miles Amoore
It was the week after Christmas and there was a line of paper Santas hanging in the small chow house at Forward Operating Base Chapman, sent to Afghanistan by loved ones back home.
Among the CIA agents waiting in the morning chill, amid the exercise bicycles and weights, were a mother of three and a father of three who had had to tell their children they would not be home for Christmas.
This was not the first time since 9/11 that they had been stuck on some remote base in Afghanistan. But this time they believed the sacrifice would be worth it, for they believed they were about to land the biggest present imaginable to an American intelligence agent.
Hunting down Osama Bin Laden has recently been given new urgency by President Barack Obama, anxious for some kind of victory that would enable him to pull out troops from Afghanistan.
Now, eight years after losing the trail in the mountains of Tora Bora, it suddenly seemed that US intelligence workers had got the piece of luck they had been praying for.
The CIA deputy country director had flown in from Kabul, CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, was alerted and the White House was on notice to expect a call.
The mother of three — the agency chief at Chapman — had spent the past 14 years of her life tracking Bin Laden and this was the moment she had been waiting for. An original member of Alec Station, the CIA team dedicated to hunting the Al-Qaeda leader, she had an “encyclopaedic knowledge” of Al-Qaeda, according to colleagues.
The man they were waiting for was a 32-year-old Jordanian doctor called Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi.
He was driving across the border from Pakistan where he had spent a year becoming close to Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s Egyptian deputy. That morning, Wednesday December 30, Balawi had been picked up at the Ghulam Khan border crossing by an Afghan army commander called Arghawan, who was in charge of security at the Chapman base. The pair drove to the village of Mermandi, near Khost in southeastern Afghanistan, where at about 12.30pm they were met by Arghawan’s driver. Read the rest of this entry »