A suicide motorcycle-borne improvised explosive device detonated inside a joint US/Afghan Army ground patrol earlier today, killing six Americans and wounding two more Americans and an interpreter. The names and units of the troops killed and wounded in the action were not immediately released.
This news comes on the heels of disturbing reports of Taliban gains in both the north and south of the country. Afghanistan’s south-central Helmand Province, always a hotbed of insurgent activity, is once again so hot that the desperate governor of the restive area, Mohammad Jan Rasulyar, has appealed directly (and very publicly) to the president of Afghanistan… via Facebook:
Your Excellency, Facebook is not the right forum for speaking with you, but as my voice hasn’t been heard by you I don’t know what else to do. Please save Helmand from tragedy. Ignore those liars who are telling you that Helmand is secure.”
The number of foreign fighters involved in the recent attacks (up to 30% of combatants) and the political, military, and financial support involved all hint at the support of foreign governments. While it is tempting to point fingers at Iran, or even China or Russia, the real culprit is likely to be Pakistan, our erstwhile “ally,” to whom we give a billion dollars in foreign aid annually and who gives us… the Haqqanis. I wonder how much of that support we give Pakistan went into what happened to our troops today, and what is happening down in Helmand.