Officials: Kabul Attack Reflects Insurgents’ Desperation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2011 — The week­end attack on an Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force con­voy in Kab­ul, Afghanistan, indi­cates the insur­gents’ desire to counter grow­ing coali­tion pres­sure, Pen­ta­gon offi­cials said today.

A car bomb smashed into an ISAF con­voy Oct. 29 killing 13 coali­tion per­son­nel, NATO offi­cials said. Five of the dead were ser­vice mem­bers, and eight were ISAF civil­ian employ­ees. The attack also injured sev­er­al Afghans, coali­tion per­son­nel and civil­ians.

“These attacks are designed for psy­cho­log­i­cal impact,” Navy Capt. John Kir­by, deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for media oper­a­tions, told reporters. “To give these attacks, as lethal as they have been and as point­ed as they have been, more weight than they deserve wouldn’t be war­rant­ed.”

Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta, who was informed of the con­voy attack soon after it hap­pened, sent con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of those who were killed and wound­ed.

The Tal­iban took cred­it for the con­voy attack, accord­ing to news reports.

Recent insur­gent-con­duct­ed car bomb­ings, assas­si­na­tions and oth­er attacks in Afghanistan, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary George Lit­tle told reporters, “reflect, in our view, their con­cern about pres­sure that’s being brought to bear on them in oth­er parts of the coun­try.”

Kab­ul is Afghanistan’s cap­i­tal city. Kir­by said the insur­gents believe that by attack­ing coali­tion forces in Kab­ul “they can have an even greater psy­cho­log­i­cal effect on the Afghan gov­ern­ment and on Afghan cit­i­zens.”

In response to insur­gent attacks yes­ter­day that killed nine Afghans, the ISAF com­man­der, Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, joined Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai in con­demn­ing the vio­lence.

“These cal­lous acts against civil­ians are just more exam­ples of the insur­gents’ mur­der­ous ways and lack of respect toward the Afghan peo­ple,” Allen said today in a state­ment.

Four chil­dren from the same fam­i­ly were mur­dered by a road­side bomb explo­sion in Kha­je­gan vil­lage of Nerkh dis­trict in Maid­an War­dak.

In a sep­a­rate insur­gent attack, five Afghans were killed and six were wound­ed in a bomb­ing at the U.N. High Com­mis­sion for Refugees in Kan­da­har.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the fam­i­lies of these vic­tims,” Allen said.

“Killing inno­cent civil­ians,” he added, “and in par­tic­u­lar the chil­dren who are the future of this great nation, is unac­cept­able and we will hold these ter­ror­ists account­able.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)