A Toyota Corolla packed with explosives rammed a pair of American military vehicles in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Thursday, setting off a blast that killed at least 16 people, including 6 American military advisers
The explosion was powerful enough to rattle windows across Kabul. It left bodies strewed along the street and one of the American vehicles — an armored Chevrolet Suburban that weighed nearly five tons — lying in ruins more than 30 feet from the blast site.
More attacks against Americans will come soon, Mr. Zarghon added, saying that Hezb-i-Islami was dismayed by the current talks between Afghanistan and the United States about a long-term security deal under which thousands of American soldiers could be based in Afghanistan for years to come.
“When Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan realized that American invaders have the devil intention of staying in Afghanistan, we decided to step up our attack on Americans in Afghanistan,” he said.
Today's attack indicates that the Taliban are back to targeting ISAF soldiers. Since the April 28 start of the group's spring offensive, 18 ISAF troops have been killed. Announcing this year's offensive, the Taliban said the campaign would focus primarily on the "foreign invaders," or Coalition forces operating under the command of the International Security Assistance Forces, and stressed that suicide and insider attacks would be used.
Hizb-i-Islami, along with other terrorist groups, is known to have bases in the tribal regions of Pakistan and to support suicide bomber facilitation inside Afghanistan.
Even with the withdrawal from Iraq and the pullback in Afghanistan, the rate of suicide within the military has continued to rise significantly faster than within the general population, where it is also rising. In 2002, the military’s suicide rate was 10.3 per 100,000 troops, well below the comparable civilian rate. But today the rates are nearly the same, above 18 per 100,000 people.
And according to some experts, the military may be undercounting the problem because of the way it calculates its suicide rate.
What is known is that since 2001, more than 2,700 service members have killed themselves, and that figure does not include National Guard and reserve troops who were not on active duty when they committed suicide.
Suicide among veterans has also risen somewhat since 2001, to an estimated 22 a day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Many experts believed that military culture insulated young people from self-harm. Not only did it provide steady income and health care, structure and a sense of purpose, the reasoning went, military service also screened personnel for criminal behavior as well as for basic physical and mental fitness - But a decade of war has changed that perception.