Over the past two days, the Taliban on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border have used females to carry out suicide operations.
The first attack took place at a police station in the town of Kolachi in the district of Dera Ismail Khan in northwestern Pakistan. A husband and wife, both wearing burkas, entered the town’s police station under the guise of filing a complaint and took several policemen hostage. The pair detonated their vests as police laid siege to the station, killing seven policemen and a tea boy.
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan claimed the attack, and said it was carried out to avenge the death of al Qaeda founder and former leader Osama bin Laden.
“The attackers were a husband and wife,” Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters. “We will keep carrying out attacks with different strategies.”
The second attack took place today, in the Char Chino district in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan. The Taliban gave an eight-year-old girl a bag of explosives and had her walk to a police outpost, according to the Afghan Ministry of Interior. The explosives detonated before she reached the police, killing only the girl.
The Taliban have carried out three suicide attacks using females this month. On June 4, the Taliban claimed credit for a suicide attack in the Marawara district in Kunar province, Afghanistan that killed three interpreters. The Taliban released an official statement on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, and claimed that a “Mujahida sister” killed 12 US and Afghan troops.
Prior to this month, there have only been two other suicide attacks in Afghanistan or Pakistan carried out by females since the US deposed the Taliban regime during the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. Both of those attacks have taken place in the past year.
A female suicide bomber struck for the first time in the region in the Afghan province of Kunar, on June 21, 2010. Two US soldiers were killed and two Afghan children were wounded in the attack. A senior al Qaeda and Taliban commander named Qari Zia Rahman claimed credit for the bombing.
The next female suicide attack took place on Dec. 24, 2010, in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Bajaur. The suicide bomber killed 42 Pakistani civilians in an attack at a World Food Program ration distribution point.
The Taliban are known to have opened suicide camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border, according to the accounts of two young girls who were trained to carry out suicide attacks but escaped to tell their stories.
Qari Zia Rahman has established training camps for female suicide bombers in both Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Qari Zia operates in Kunar and Nuristan provinces in Afghanistan and in the tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand in Pakistan.