Army Times (Thursday May 20, 2010) A suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Tuesday killed five American soldiers, the highest number killed in a single attack in seven months.
A colonel and two lieutenant colonels were among those killed in the attack, marking the first time during the Afghanistan war that three officers of those ranks were killed in a single incident.
Early on Tuesday, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device after targeting a convey traveling down Kabul’s Darulaman Road.
The Defense Department on Wednesday identified the soldiers.
Col. John M. McHugh, 46, of New Jersey, assigned to the Army Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz, 43, of Waterloo, Wis., assigned to Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.
Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer, 44, of Perrysburg, Ohio, assigned to Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.
Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman, 28, of Waynesboro, Pa., assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany.
Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson, 24, of Dubberly, La., assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany.
The attack also killed Canadian Col. Geoff Parker and more than a dozen Afghan civilians.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told The Associated Press the bomber was a man from Kabul and that the vehicle was packed with 1,650 pounds of explosives.
A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force said commanders thought the attack was indiscriminate and not part of a larger Taliban strategy targeting senior leaders.
“We don’t have any information that they were targeting the specific group,” Air Force Master Sgt. Jeff Loftin told Army Times.
McHugh had been in Kabul for a few days, traveling with Bartz and Belkofer. They were conducting a site survey in advance of the division headquarters deployment. The headquarters is scheduled to go to Afghanistan in the fall.
Tieman and Tomlinson were traveling with the convoy.
The incident was quickly condemned by ISAF and NATO leaders.
“This sort of desperate brutality and aggression reminds us of the pessimism of an enemy who seeks to kill the innocent and to stop the progress necessary for a better Afghanistan,” said ISAF spokesman Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz in a statement.
In addition to the loss of life, the blast damaged five ISAF vehicles and more than a dozen civilian vehicles.
The last attack of this magnitude was an IED attack on a Stryker in the Arghandab Valley on Oct. 27 which killed seven soldiers with 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
October was the deadliest month of the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan, claiming 56 service-members’ lives; 48 of them were soldiers. So far in May, 18 service members have been killed in Afghanistan.