Over the past two days, the Taliban have killed 20 Afghans, including policemen and political leaders, during suicide and roadside bomb attacks in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand.
The attacks started yesterday in Helmand, where the Taliban killed 13 Afghans in two separate attacks in the districts of Kajaki and Nad Ali. In Kajaki, a suicide bomber killed nine people, including two policemen and seven civilians, in an attack at a bazaar.
The Taliban claimed credit for the Kajaki suicide attack, which they referred to as a martyr attack, in a statement released on their website, Voice of Jihad. The Taliban said the suicide bomber was named Hameedullah and came from Helmand, and they claimed that 12 ISAF troops and five Afghan “puppets,” a term reserved for Afghan security forces, were killed. But no US and NATO troops were reported to have been killed or wounded in the attack. The statement also accused NATO forces of targeting Afghan civilians and warned them to stay away from NATO troops
“It should be reminded that Islamic Emirate has repeatedly warned civilians to stay away form foreign troops as the barbaric enemy troops deliberately shoot at civilians after an operation,” the Taliban statement said.
In an IED attack in Nad Ali, the Taliban killed the district intelligence chief and two intelligence officers, as well as a member of the Helmand provincial council. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack.
The Taliban also claimed credit for today’s suicide attack that took place outside of Kandahar Air Field, NATO’s largest military base in the south. Afghan officials said that seven people, including a child and three civilians, were killed in the attack.
The Taliban claimed the suicide bomber, Ahmad from Kandahar, “rammed his explosives-laden van into the Land Cruiser convoy of foreign officials in the front gate of Kandahar airbase” and killed “12 invaders.” Again, no US and NATO troops were reported to have been killed or wounded in the attack.
The Taliban continue to target local Afghan officials and security forces as part of their assassination campaign. Last week, a key district governor in Kandahar who was instrumental in getting local Taliban fighters to reconcile with the government was murdered.
Dozens of senior Afghan officials were killed last year. The most high-profile assassination occurred in Kabul, when a suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden in his turban and killed Burhanuddin Rabbani on Sept. 20, 2011. Rabbani was the leader of the Afghan High Peace Council, which has been established to negotiate with the Taliban, and also was the head of the Jamiat-e-Islami political party.