Another Suicide Attack on Khost

by Joshua Foust on 7/25/2009

Another group of militants has attacked government buildings in Khost City, the AP reports.

At least three suicide bombers blew themselves up during the attack in Khost, which began in the early afternoon and was ongoing, Defense Minister spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi said. Azimi said Afghan forces had surrounded the attackers and were firing on them.

Details of the attack were sketchy because reporters were unable to move safely through the city. Residents contacted by telephone said the sounds of battle were continuing hours after the attacks started.

Shops are closed down and the streets are supposedly empty. In the wake of the suicide attacks, some other militants got into a gunfight with “security forces” (they don’t say which ones). The Khost provincial police chief says the attackers wore Border Police uniforms and tried to enter his office, but “our forces opened fire and killed them all.” Al Jazeera says a total of five attackers were killed, most around the police station, though they say the attackers wore burqas to conceal explosives.

Khost City has been the site of an increasing number of attacks. When this happened the last time, in May, I used it as an excuse to explore the siege mentality of the troops—they’re in an environment of extreme paranoia, where there is such danger from suicide attacks (or such perceived danger, I can’t tell) that their mission—conducting a population-centric counterinsurgency—is well nigh impossible.

If there is another attack on Khost in a month, we’ll know for certain that the area has become an important front for the insurgency.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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