Just when some newspapers ran a Pentagon report that violence in Afghanistan decreased 26 percent between July and last month, compared to the same period last year, a vehicle laden with explosives smashed into an armored U.S. military bus in Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 17 people, including four U.S. troops, five U.S. civilians working for the military, a Canadian soldier and four Afghans.
Violence in the Afghanistan capital, particularly against U.S. troops, has been rare.
However, a U.N. report last month found violence in Afghanistan increased 39 percent in the first eight months this year.
The U.N. blamed the increased violence in part on a rise in use of homemade explosives.
But a ruthless crime family may be involved.
While the Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday’s bombing, Afghan and American officials suspect a crime clan known as the Haqqani network, based in Pakistan, may have been behind the Saturday attack.
Although mention of the Haqqani group may be new to most Americans, a New York Times story last month declared “American military officers, who have spent years urging Washington to take action against the Haqqanis, express anger that the Obama administration has still not put the group on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.”