KABUL, Afghanistan — 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 police officer and four civilians, including a 3-year-old girl. Seventeen other Afghans — 14 civilians and three police officers — were wounded. The provincial governor said the blast was so powerful it damaged about 100 shops in a nearby bazaar.
Although the truck bombing occurred outside the base, the number of injuries it caused was significant. Combat outposts usually house about 200 troops.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Earlier, the group had issued a statement vowing to fight until all foreign troops leave. "The Afghans have an endless stamina for a long war," the statement said.
The attack occurred just over 40 miles from Kabul in an increasingly lawless district in a key province that controls a strategic approach to the capital.
Sayed Abad is 7 miles east of the Tangi Valley, where the Taliban on Aug. 6 shot down a U.S. military helicopter, killing 30 Americans.
SOLDIER KILLED: NATO said Sunday that one of its service members was killed in an insurgent attack on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan. That brought the death toll to 13 this month — and 417 this year — for coalition forces. At least 307 of the dead were Americans.