Taliban hits E. Afghan government center after US replaces top commander

Taliban launched massive suicide bombing attacks Tuesday, May 12, on two government buildings in the eastern Afghanistan town of Khost which houses a big American base near the border with Pakistan. US forces attending a meeting with Afghan officials responded, sparking running gun battles that killed an estimated 20 people and wounded three US troops. US and Afghan troops freed 20 hostages.
According to some reports, the Taliban’s multiple attacks in Khost were planned to ambush the US forces responding to the explosions.
The Khost attack came as the new US ambassador, former general Karl Eikenberry, presented his credentials to Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Kabul, the day after the top American commander Gen. David McKiernan was replaced by defense secretary Robert Gates with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former Special Operations forces officer in Iraq.
The size of the attacking insurgent force is not clear. According to one version, eleven suicide bombers took part. A Taliban spokesman said to the AFP news agency “Thirty of our fighters armed with suicide cars, suicide jackets and guns” mounted the attack.
Military sources say the rebels’ attacks have become more complex and sophisticated. The Khost attack was one of the deadliest in recent months.
For debkafile‘s background on the change of US commanders in Afghanistan click HERE

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