Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Kabul (BNA) The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Sunday thanked families of Afghan police officers killed or wounded in one of the deadliest terrorist bombings of the country’s 15-year-old war.
“They are our heroes, you are our heroes,” Army Gen. John Nicholson told a crowd of Burqa-clad widows, small children and policemen with visible scars at NATO’s Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul.
A truck packed with more than 3,300 pounds of explosives was detonated at an entrance to the capital’s Green Zone on May 31. More than 150 people were killed and more than 400 injured by the blast, for which no group has yet claimed responsibility. Afghanistan’s intelligence agency charged that the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network planned the attack.
NATO’s headquarters, the U.S. Embassy and several other foreign missions are located in the heavily fortified Green Zone. The explosion killed seven police officers and wounded a dozen more.
“It is our duty to remember them, to honor them, and to complete the work for which they died and for which you were wounded,” Nicholson said at the officers’ memorial Sunday evening.
Officials say police prevented what could have been an even deadlier attack. Security footage showed officers stopping the truck from passing a checkpoint near the German Embassy. Moments later it exploded.
Hugo Llorens, special charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy, also spoke at the event, suggesting the men may have saved many American lives if the perpetrators’ intended target had been the embassy or the adjacent NATO base.
“I offer the heartfelt condolences of the administration of President Donald Trump and the people of the United States in these difficult times,” he said.