Khost Comes Under Attack Again

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by Joshua Foust on 8/14/2009

In Khost, the Afghan security forces just might be turning into the new heroes of the war. On Wednesday, another man wearing an explosive vest charged a police checkpoint in Sabari District, but was shot dead. This is especially good news for Sabari, since it’s only recently that the U.S. has decided to re-establish a presence in the district bordering Paktya to the north. It is also one of the more complex areas of Khost, socially and politically, with a confusing pastiche of tribes, communities, and economic and personal grievances all complicating the security environment. Good for the ANP, if they can keep suicide bombers at bay.

Meanwhile, in Khost City itself, another suicide bomber managed to attack the police headquarters (again). Unlike the last time, where the police and Afghan Army received high praise for their response to a complex attack, initial witness reports indicate that the police responded with “indiscriminate fire.” An unknown number of residents fled the area.

Lastly, as Afghanistan gears up for its election in six days, it’s been interesting to see how different groups use threats against it as leverage. In Khost, for example, a large Kuchi community has decided to protest the construction of a police checkpoint they feel is too near a mosque by boycotting the election. Given how screwed up it’s looking to be—several Nuistanis protesting the lack of ballot boxes in its capital, Parun, were gunned down today by Afghan security—a mere boycott isn’t really much of a threat. It remains to be seen if and how such threats might be capitalized on post-election, or if the government caves in to their demands.

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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 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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