On Tuesday, the toll of American dead in Afghanistan passed 1,000, after a suicide bomb in Kabul killed at least five United States service members. Having taken nearly seven years to reach the first 500 dead, the war killed the second 500 in fewer than two. A resurgent Taliban active in almost every province, a weak central government incapable of protecting its people and a larger number of American troops in harms way all contributed to the accelerating pace of death.The Times focuses on the death of Private Patrick Fitzgibbon, who stepped on an IED in August 2009. But readers should check the slideshow at Knoxville News, "Remembering Patrick Fitzgibbon: Knoxville soldier killed in Afghanistan."
The mayhem of last August, coming as Afghans were holding national elections, provided a wake-up call to many Americans about the deteriorating conditions in the country. Forty-seven American G.I.’s died that month, more than double the previous August, making it the deadliest month in the deadliest year of the war.
The main story is here, "Suicide Bomber Hits U.S. Convoy in Afghanistan":
A man driving a Toyota minivan crammed with explosives steered into an American convoy Tuesday morning here, killing 18 people, including five American soldiers and one from Canada. At least 47 people were wounded, nearly all of them civilians caught in rush-hour traffic.
The blast sent a fireball billowing into the air, set cars aflame and blew bodies apart. Limbs and entrails flew hundreds of feet, littering yards and walls and streets. The survivors, many of them women and children, some of them missing limbs, lay in the road moaning and calling for help.
In a passenger bus, an Afghan woman lay dead in her seat, cut in half; with her baby still squirming in her arms. Fifty yards away, a man’s head lay on the hood of a truck.
“I just dove on the ground to try to save myself,” said Mahfouz Mahmoodi, an Afghan police officer. “And then I got up, and I saw the terrible scene.”
The assault demonstrated anew that the Taliban can still strike the capital — if not every day, then with regularity.
The Taliban took responsibility for the attack in a posting on its Web site, saying the group had dispatched a young man named Nizamuddin, a resident of Kabul. The Taliban said that Nizamuddin carried more than 1,600 pounds of explosives in his van.