Five Taliban suicide terrorists blew themselves up in an attack on a U.S. consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat early Friday, killing at least two Afghan security forces.
No American personnel were injured, and the U.S. Embassy spokesman Robert Hilton said he had no information to confirm a claim by a police official that an Afghan translator, who apparently worked for the consulate, died in the attack.
Taliban terrorists also engaged security forces in a gun battle after the suicide bombing.
Afghanistan faces a future similar to Iraq, whose fragile government has been in a constant war with terrorists long after the United States invaded the country and announced it had achieved victory by bringing down Saddam Hussein.
The suicide attack in Afghanistan Friday underlines the same situation that exists there.
President Barack Obama has announced a “withdrawal” of American troops by the end of 2014, but in truth, only half of the more than 60,000 U.S. soldiers now in Afghanistan will leave the country.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the No. 2 commander for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, calls the term “withdrawal” a misnomer.
He told the Stars and Stripes, “We have no indication whatsoever of a withdrawal completely from Afghanistan. We are going to change our mission, and we are going to reduce in size and scope.”
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, wrote in the Marine Corps Times that Afghanistan is prepared to take over security, but still needs American support.
“There is also growing confidence in the security forces by the Afghan people. In recent surveys, a vast majority of the Afghan people have expressed confidence in the Afghan Army and police,” he said.
Dunford added, “In order for the Afghan forces to secure their nation after the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition combat forces in December 2014, we must assist the Afghans in developing the systems, processes and institutions necessary to support a modern Army and police force. They need continued assistance with intelligence, aviation and logistics. This focus on building the sustainability of Afghan forces will require far fewer U.S. troops than we have deployed today. However, it will require continued commitment and resources for some time to come.”
Citing 9/11 as a wake-up call for the United States to engage in a war against terror, Dunford wrote, “It was those attacks, planned by al-Qaeda from its sanctuary in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban, which brought us to Afghanistan. In 2001, we put U.S. forces in harm’s way because it was in our national interests to do so. In 2013, U.S. forces remain in Afghanistan because our national interests have not changed.”
Friday’s suicide attack on an American consulate leaves in question whether the security of the United States has improved or deteriorated.