3 U.S. Special Forces Die in Pakistan Bombing

Bomb also destroyed a girls' school and killed three students.

ByABC News
February 3, 2010, 6:12 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb. 3, 2010— -- Three U.S. special operations forces helping train Pakistan's embattled paramilitary corps were killed today when their vehicle was destroyed by a remote control bomb, the deadliest ever attack on Americans in Pakistan.

More than 20 special operations forces are in Pakistan to train the Frontier Corps, the historically under-equipped and ill-trained force fighting the Taliban in Pakistan's volatile northwest. The training program has been acknowledged by the Pakistani military but is rarely publicized because of fears it will stoke rising anti-American sentiment.

The attack appears to have specifically targeted the vehicle carrying the Americans, according to a journalist travelling in the convoy whose vehicle was damaged but survived the explosion. The bomb exploded underneath the third car after two of the cars had already travelled over the same spot, the journalist, Amjad Ali Shah, told ABC News.

That would suggest a high level of sophistication by the Pakistani Taliban, which have vowed revenge for repeated CIA drone strikes against its leadership and who today took responsibility for the bombing.

The soldiers were the first U.S. military personnel killed in Pakistan since the Marriott hotel bombing in August 2008, which killed two troops. Today's casualties appear to be the first who were actually targeted in Pakistan.

The bomb exploded just before 11:00 a.m. Pakistan time, according to the Pakistani military, as the group of Pakistani security officials, journalists, and the American trainers were on their way to a girls' school that had been damaged by the Taliban and then rebuilt with the help of American development money.