A powerful Taliban truck bomb that wounded 77 American soldiers and killed five Afghans outside a combat outpost served as a reminder on Sunday that 10 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, nearly 100,000 U.S. troops are still fighting a war that shows no signs of slowing down.
No U.S. troops were killed when the massive bomb loaded on a truck filled with firewood exploded Saturday night just outside the gates of Combat Outpost Sayed Abad in eastern Wardak province. NATO said a protective barrier at the entrance absorbed most of the force of the blast, although the area outside the base was hit hard.
Officials said the Afghans killed included a policeman and four civilians, including a 3-year-old girl. Another 17 Afghans - 14 civilians and three policemen - were wounded. The provincial governor said the blast was so powerful it damaged about 100 shops in the nearby Sayed Abad bazaar.
Although Saturday's truck bombing occurred outside the base, the numbers of injuries it caused was significant. Combat outposts usually house about 200 troops.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Earlier, they had issued a statement vowing to fight until all foreign troops leave. The radical Islamic movement, which gave shelter to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida when it ruled Afghanistan, also stressed that it had no role in the Sept. 11 attacks, and it accused the U.S. of using them as a pretext to invade the country.