By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON – The weekend attack on an International Security Assistance Force convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan, indicates the insurgents’ desire to counter growing coalition pressure, Pentagon officials said today.
A car bomb smashed into an ISAF convoy Oct. 29 killing 13 coalition personnel, NATO officials said. Five of the dead were service members, and eight were ISAF civilian employees. The attack also injured several Afghans, coalition personnel and civilians.
“These attacks are designed for psychological impact,” Navy Capt. John Kirby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations, told reporters. “To give these attacks, as lethal as they have been and as pointed as they have been, more weight than they deserve wouldn’t be warranted.”
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who was informed of the convoy attack soon after it happened, sent condolences to the families of those who were killed and wounded.
News reports from Kabul said the Taliban took credit for the attack, but Little said there is no new information about who is responsible. “We continue to look at that closely,” he said, adding that there is still no word about how many Americans were among the dead.
Recent insurgent-conducted car bombings, assassinations and other attacks in Afghanistan, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters, “reflect, in our view, their concern about pressure that’s being brought to bear on them in other parts of the country.”
Kabul is Afghanistan’s capital city. Kirby said the insurgents believe that by attacking coalition forces in Kabul “they can have an even greater psychological effect on the Afghan government and on Afghan citizens.”
In response to insurgent attacks yesterday that killed nine Afghans, the ISAF commander, Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, joined Afghan President Hamid Karzai in condemning the violence.
"These callous acts against civilians are just more examples of the insurgents’ murderous ways and lack of respect toward the people of Afghanistan," Allen said today in a statement.
Four children from the same family were murdered by a roadside bomb explosion in Khajegan village of Nerkh district in Maidan Wardak.
In a separate insurgent attack, five Afghans were killed and six were wounded in a bombing at the U.N. High Commission for Refugees in Kandahar.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of these victims,” Allen said.
“Killing innocent civilians,” he added, “and in particular the children who are the future of this great nation, is unacceptable and we will hold these terrorists accountable.”