Taliban Launches Brazen Attacks on U.S. Base in Afghanistan
Taliban forces are stepping up attacks on NATO forces and their support personnel as coalition forces prepare for a major offensive intended to secure the southern region of Afghanistan. Following a suicide attack on a NATO convoy on Tuesday, Taliban forces launched a pre-dawn raid on the U.S. base at Bagram, about 30 miles north of Kabul. To date, this was one of the most aggressive Taliban maneuvers against U.S. and NATO forces. At least one contractor was killed and five troops were wounded in the assault.
It is believed that at least 10 of the attacking Taliban were killed of a group of roughly 20 or 30. Many of the insurgents were suicide bombers who either detonated themselves while under attack or were killed with their explosives still strapped to their bodies. Many of the attackers were believed to be wearing NATO or U.S. military uniforms, which is a tactic that has been employed successfully in the past to get close to bases and strategic checkpoints.
Despite the attacks, U.S. commanders remain confident that they are on track to launch their planned offensive in the south of Afghanistan. The primary objective there will be to control and secure Kandahar, a former stronghold of the Taliban and the key urban center of Southern Afghanistan. In contrast to earlier missions that were focused more clearing on military initiatives, the Kandahar plan is to first engage local leaders and discern the best course of action for disposing of the Taliban. Kandahar has pockets of insurgents, but is not under immediate control of the Taliban.