Image courtesy: U.S. Navy
As this propaganda poster seized by American troops in Afghanistan shows, terrorists have been determined for years to strike at U.S. interests around the world. Were it not for the efforts of our men and women in uniform since the attacks of September 11, 2001, our lives would be very different.
On Tuesday, Americans, Afghans, and Iraqis witnessed the danger still posed by al Qaeda and the Taliban. In Iraq, al Qaeda is blamed for a cowardly attack at an Army recruiting center in Baghdad that killed at least 60 people and wounded over 100 more. As The Unknown Soldiers recently conveyed while profiling Spc. Faith Hinkley, coalition troops and civilians still face daily threats in Iraq, regardless of various benchmark dates negotiated by politicians. Even as thousands of American troops return in victory from the country, flags flying at half-staff in Monte Vista, Colorado, on Tuesday remind us that brave volunteers like Spc. Hinkley are still paying the ultimate price in Iraq.
In Afghanistan, Voice Of America reports that three coalition troops were killed Tuesday in two separate bombings on the eastern and western fronts. The nationalities of the fallen service members have not yet been released.
While this news is tragic, another positive development from Afghanistan has been almost completely ignored by the American media. On Monday, a terrorist known as Bilal was killed by coalition and Afghan troops in Logar province. As an ISAF press release notes, Bilal was notorious for his involvement in many roadside bomb attacks that have killed and maimed innocent Afghans. He also had known ties to the Taliban wing that abducted and murdered two Navy sailors, Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove.
"We are happy to announce the results of this successful operation. This man was a known criminal who regularly facilitated rocket attacks against Afghan and coalition forces," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "Bilal was also associated with a violent network directly responsible in the kidnapping and vicious killing of two American sailors."
It is always difficult to hear and read about deaths and injuries of U.S. service members and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the successful operation to kill Bilal leaves no doubt as to whether America is still on the offense against terrorism overseas. Nobody said this fight would be easy, but with the best military in the world constantly at work defending our country, Americans should be more supportive than ever of its proud volunteer warriors.