July 27, 2008 | FDD’s Long War Journal

US, Afghan forces beat back Taliban attack in Khost province

The Taliban continue to attack outposts and district centers in the Afghan provinces along the Pakistani border. Today, the Taliban force assaulted a district center in Khost, and suffered massive casualties, according to the provincial governor. Upwards of 70 Taliban fighters were reported killed in the nighttime battle.

The Taliban launched their assault on the Spera district center at 2 AM local time, the International Security Assistance Force reported in a press release. The attacking force, estimated at 100 Taliban fighters, attacked using small arms and machineguns.

The Afghan National Police manning the outpost held of the attack and radioed US forces for backup. The US responded by sending ground forces and supporting fires from artillery as well as helicopter and aircraft.

US and Afghan forces then surrounded the Taliban force, and pounded the position with small-arms fire, artillery, and air strikes.

The Taliban force was routed. “The number of insurgents killed is in double-digit figures,” the International Security Assistance Force reported. Arsala Jamal, the governor of Khost, said between 50 and 70 Taliban fighters were killed. “A small number” of police officers were reported killed. No US troops were reported killed or wounded during the engagement.

The Spera district center is just nine miles from the Pakistani border. The Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, which is run by the Haqqani family, borders Khost. The US military has singled out the Haqqanis as a major threat in eastern Afghanistan. Siraj Haqqani is one of the most wanted men in the region because of his close links with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terror groups based in Pakistan have launched numerous attacks on US and Afghan outposts in the provinces of Zabul, Paktika, Paktia, Khost, Kunar, Nangarhar, and Nuristan along the Pakistani border. US and Afghan forces have repelled every Taliban attack, often inflicting heavy casualties. The Taliban and al Qaeda were able to kill nine US soldiers during an attack on an outpost in Nuristan. US forces later abandoned the outpost, and the Taliban took control of the town.

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