The Taliban launched suicide attacks today outside the Defense Ministry in Kabul and in Khost province as US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited the capital on his first trip to Afghanistan.
The suicide attack in Kabul was executed by a Taliban bomber who detonated his vest at the main gate at the Defense Ministry. Two security personnel and seven civilians were killed in the attack, which also injured two Afghan soldiers and 11 more civilians.
The Taliban claimed credit for the attack in a statement released on their Website, Voice of Jihad. The Taliban claimed that “15 puppet officers,” a reference to Afghan security personnel, were killed, and nine vehicles were “destroyed as martyr attack hits defense ministry.” The Taliban routinely exaggerate casualties and the results of their operations.
Despite Coalition and Afghan efforts to seal off the Afghan capital, the Taliban have been able to infiltrate Kabul and conduct suicide attacks and assaults. The Taliban have launched two suicide attacks on the National Directorate of Security’s headquarters in Kabul since December, and badly wounded NDS chief Asadullah Khalid in a suicide attack as he was welcoming visitors in a guesthouse.
In Khost, a suicide bomber killed eight children and a security official in an attack in the Mangas area of the eastern province. The suicide bomber detonated his vest as an Afghan and Coalition convoy passed by the area. The Taliban have not claimed credit for the attack. The Haqqani Network, a powerful Taliban subgroup, operates in in Khost province.
Today’s high-profile attacks in Kabul and Khost follow another that took place yesterday in Kapisa province. Three Afghan soldiers turned their weapons on Coalition personnel at a base in the province, killing a civilian contractor and wounding three US soldiers. The three Afghan soldiers were killed during the attack.
The attacks have been conducted as Hagel is in Afghanistan to meet Coalition and Afghan officials to discuss the withdrawal of NATO and US forces and the transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces. The US was to hand over control of the Parwan Detention Facility to the Afghans in a ceremony today, but the transfer was canceled due to disputes over the prison.
Suicide attacker rocks Capital city of Kabul, Ariana News
Suicide attack leaves 8 children dead in Khost province, Khaama Press