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Cablegate: Attack On Prt Mehtarlam Kills Children and Ana

VZCZCXRO1496
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1057 0920953
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020953Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7200
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 3908

UNCLAS KABUL 001057

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DOD FOR USDP EDELMAN
STATE FOR SCA/FO A/S BOUCHER AND SAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A,
S/CRS, SCA/PB, S/CT, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC PASS TO AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-76, POLAD, JICCENT
REL TO NATO/AUS/NZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER ASEC MARR AF
SUBJECT: ATTACK ON PRT MEHTARLAM KILLS CHILDREN AND ANA
MEMBERS ON HUMANITARIAN MISSION


1. (SBU) At approximately 1445 local time on April 1, PRT
Mehtarlam sustained a vehicle borne suicide attack on the
front gate of the ANA side of the compound. The lone driver
attacked an ANA convoy entering the gate with his white
Toyota Camry or Corolla. Governor Mangal reported that three
children and an adult from the area were killed in the attack
along with the driver. Six to eight ANA soldiers and four
local nationals (another adult and three children) were
wounded. There were no U.S. casualties.

2. (SBU) The convoy was returning from operations to assist
victims of recent flooding in nearby Qarghayi district. The
provincial hospital in Mehtarlam and the PRT provided medical
care for the victims. Two ANA soldiers and a three year old
child with critical injuries were evacuated to Bagram for
medical care.

3. (SBU) The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack
and stated that Abdul Karim of Nangahar province was the
driver. The PRT has been unable to confirm the claim and has
doubts about its legitimacy because several other groups had
also announced their intention to conduct similar attacks.
The PRT's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team conducted an
assessment of the area of the blast and determined the
vehicle contained six 82mm mortar rounds and approximately
200 pounds of ANFO or other blasting agent.

4. (SBU) COMMENT. The attack ended a period of relative
quiet in the province. This is the first VBIED attack in
Laghman and the first direct attack on the base since a few
mortar rounds were lobbed at the PRT in October 2006. There
was only one IED road attack in Laghman in the past month and
even this attack was reported by the local population to the
ANP before it could be detonated. The cumulative effect of
today's attack puts those responsible in a very bad light as
the attack failed in its goal of killing ANSF or coalition
forces, murdered innocent children, and hit an ANA convoy
just returned from assisting Afghans suffering from a natural
disaster. We are working with the Afghan National
Communications Coordination Center (NC3) to highlight ANSF
work in responding to the flood and the costs ot the
population of such attacks. END COMMENT.
NEUMANN

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