Monday, December 06, 2010 3:43 AM
Marine Corps photo of a weekly souvenir bazaar near Kandahar airfield.
I use quotation marks in the headline because that is how the Taliban are describing the bomber who struck Sunday at a "weekly souvenir bazaar" at the Afghan army's 203rd Corps headquarters in Gardez, killing "two soldiers from the US-led coalition."
Americans? Unclear in this WSJ report. The compound also houses a U.S. military base, the paper notes. "The coalition did not disclose the nationalities of allied casualties, but most soldiers deployed in Paktia are American. Afghan officials said 18 people were injured in the blast, including five Afghan soldiers."
The Taliban "identified the suicide bomber as Gul Rasul. The insurgent group's spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the bomber was an Afghan army soldier who had joined the military so he could carry out such an attack," the WSJ reports. "An Afghan defense ministry spokesman said he did not know the identity of the attacker."
The LA Times has more:
A suicide bombing Sunday that the Taliban claims was carried out by an Afghan army recruit killed two members of the United States-led international force in eastern Afghanistan, military officials said. ...
At least two Afghan civilians were killed and 18 people were wounded in the suicide bombing, said Ruhollah Samon, a spokesman for the provincial government.
The bombing took place near a small marketplace in or around Gardez, the capital of the volatile province of Paktia, a forbidding and mountainous region that borders Pakistan..
Samon said the 1:30 p.m. blast struck a marketplace inside an army base. A news release released by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization force said the bombing took place outside a forward operating base.
A Taliban spokesman going by the name of Zabiullah Mujahid said in an e-mail to reporters that the suicide bomber, whom he identified as Gul Rasool, joined the Afghan army "some time ago" with the intent of killing foreign troops.
"He managed to carry all necessary material with himself inside the corps," Mujahid said. "He carried out the attack inside the Sunday bazaar, which is used by foreign troops."
As for ISAF, not much in the way of information to date:
KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 5, 2010) — A suicide bomb detonated at a bazaar near an International Security Assistance Force operating base in Gardez district, Paktiya province today.
Two International Security Assistance Force servicemembers died as a result of the attack. It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
More information will be released when it is available.
More for Sen. Snowe to discuss with the Army.
UPDATE: 12.12.10 ---
Confirmed (barely): The Gardez bazaar suicide bomber killed two Americans, Army Staff Sgt. Jason Reeves, 32, and Marine Sgt. Nicholas J. Aleman, 24. I say "barely" because the announcement is buried in local stories about the deaths. It's almost as if the military doesn't want the incident to be added to the (incomplete) list.