Afghan suicide attack wounds 50 US soldiers

AFP , Sunday 11 Sep 2011

The US army proclaims the injury of 89 people including 50 American soldiers after a suicide bomber driving a truck attacked an advance NATO combat post in Afghanistan

A suicide bomber driving a truck attacked an advance NATO combat post in central Afghanistan, wounding 89 people including 50 American soldiers, the US Army said Sunday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility on their Internet site for Saturday's attack, news of which came as the world marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people in the United States.

US Army spokesman Major David Eastburn said 50 American soldiers and 15 Afghans were among the injured. It was not clear who the others hurt in the attack were.

"It happened at 5:15 pm on Saturday. It detonated near the entry point at a combat outpost, resulting in 89 wounded in action and a 20-foot (six-metre) hole in the wall."

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement: "A Taliban suicide bomber detonated a large vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at the entrance of Combat Outpost Sayed Abad, Wardak province, yesterday (Saturday)."

The 9/11 attacks led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan that resulted in the downfall of the Taliban in late 2001.

But the radical Islamists have since re-emerged to wage an increasingly deadly insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul and foreign forces.

The post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and its allies "will remain a permanent stigma on the face of Western democracy", the Taliban said Saturday to mark the attacks on the United States.

The Islamists, who refused to give up Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden following the attacks, also said the people of Afghanistan had "endless stamina for a long war" and would "send the Americans to the dustbin of history".

In a long statement issued in Persian and English, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said the attacks on the US in 2001 had been used, unjustly, as a "pretext" for the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is the name the Taliban gave themselves during their rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

A decade of fighting in Afghanistan began with Operation Enduring Freedom and snowballed into a huge effort involving around 130,000 foreign troops from dozens of countries.

Launched a month after the 9/11 attacks, the US-led military campaign under president George W. Bush was designed to topple the Taliban and ensure Al-Qaeda could no longer use Afghanistan as a safe haven.

Of 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan, 33,000 will leave by mid-2012, even as a still-potent Taliban insurgency is focused on headline-grabbing suicide attacks against government officials and foreign targets.

In 10 years of conflict, battlefield successes have ebbed and flowed for the troops, who invaded the country on October 7, 2001 alongside the anti-Taliban mujahedeen, driving the Taliban from Kabul by early December.

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