Both Afghan and Pakistani Taliban groups claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing this week that killed eight Americans — seven of them C.I.A. officers — suggesting that the attack was viewed as a success and could be used to gain recruits and financial support.
The competing claims, made Thursday and Friday, did little to clarify the circumstances of the attack, as each group offered a different account of how the C.I.A. base in Khost Province, in southeastern Afghanistan, had been infiltrated on Wednesday.
The Afghan Taliban said the suicide bomber was a disillusioned Afghan National Army soldier, supporting accounts from NATO officials that the attacker was wearing a uniform over his suicide vest.
The Pakistani Taliban said the attacker was someone the C.I.A. had recruited to work with them, who then offered the militants his services as a double agent. [continued…]
An American intelligence official vowed Thursday that the United States would avenge a suspected terrorist attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of seven CIA officers.
Two of those killed were contractors with private security firm Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, a former intelligence official told CNN. The CIA considers contractors to be officers. [continued…]
It was an operation by what are euphemistically called “other government agencies” that was alleged to have killed a number of students in Kunar province on Saturday, causing widespread anger in Afghanistan.
CIA-led night raids such as this have proved controversial before. A UN-commissioned report last year from Philip Alston, director of the New York Centre for Human Rights, claimed that such raids raised issues under humanitarian and international law.
The report criticised the “opaque” use of ultra-secretive CIA units operating alongside irregular Afghan militias such as the Pashai.
Professor Alston complained that many raids were “composed of Afghans but with a handful, at most, of international people directing it” and were “not accountable to any international military authority”.
Such units answer directly to the Pentagon rather than to the Nato command structure, and their operations are often so secretive that even other US forces operating nearby are sometimesmay be unaware of them. [continued…]