U.S. troops use an illuminating flare to watch the opposite ridgeline after members of their unit were attacked by small-arms fire outside Forward Operating Base Tillman in Paktika province, Afghanistan, Sept. 7, 2011. The troops are assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade. The unit was on a joint mission with the Afghan army and border patrol in the mountains near the Pakistan border.
WASHINGTON – A Pentagon official condemned the Monday truck bombing of a combat outpost as the work of the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network.
“We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. We believe the perpetrators of the attack were from the Haqqani Network. Once again this is totally unacceptable behavior and we call on these kinds of attacks to cease,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said Monday.
U.S. officials this year increasingly have expressed their frustration with Pakistani military and government authorities for not doing more to stop the terrorist group’s attacks in Afghanistan.
“[Pakistan officials] have relationships with the Haqqanis, and the Haqqani tribes are going across the border and attacking our forces in Afghanistan, and it's pretty clear that there's a relationship there,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in August.
The bomb at Combat Outpost Sayed Abad in eastern Wardak province reportedly killed five Afghans and wounded 77 NATO soldiers.
“There is a very strong likelihood that the top Haqqani supported and were aware of the attack,” Little said.
Little would not say what led officials to make that determination.
“This was not some guy with a suicide vest,” interjected Capt. John Kirby. “This was a large, large vehicle with a large amount of explosive material in it. And you do not conduct that kind of an attack without good resourcing, good planning and a fair level of coordination.”