Taliban launch suicide assault outside base in Kabul
The Taliban claimed credit for today's early morning suicide assault that targeted a base in eastern Kabul and killed seven people.
A small suicide assault team attacked a foreign logistics and supply facility in the Pul-i-Charkhi area of Kabul early this morning, Reuters reported. According to TOLONews, the attack took place outside a guesthouse owned by Guard Forces International, but the report has not been confirmed. Afghan press reports had originally stated that the logistics and supply base Supreme was the target of the attack.
The attack began when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives outside the base's main gate. The other two Taliban fighters then engaged with security guards for 30 minutes before being killed, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. Four Nepalese guards, two Afghan truck drivers waiting outside the gate, and an Afghan security guard were killed during the attack.
The Taliban have launched attacks on companies in Kabul and elsewhere in the recent past. In December 2012, the Taliban launched a truck bomb that targeted Contrack International, which is also located in the Pul-i-Charkhi area of Kabul. The blast killed one Afghan and seriously damaged the compound and neighboring facilities in Kabul's industrial park.
And in October 2012, the Taliban fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at warehouses belonging to Supreme in Parwan province. The attack destroyed several warehouses.
Today's suicide attack in Kabul is the second in the capital in eight days, and the third in three weeks. On June 25, a Taliban suicide assault team attacked the Presidential palace and CIA headquarters. The suicide assault team penetrated security using fake IDs, and battled with Afghan forces for nearly two hours before being killed. And on June 11, a suicide bomber detonated outside Afghanistan's Supreme Court, killing at least 16 civilians, including many who worked at the complex.
The attack in Kabul takes place as the international community is seeking a negotiated settlement with the Taliban after the group set up a "political office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" in Doha, Qatar. The Taliban have employed the office as a de facto embassy, raising the Taliban flag and using the name "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," which is what the Taliban used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, and still use to this day.
At the end of April, the Taliban said they would step up attacks against "foreign invaders," or Coalition personnel operating under the command of the International Security Assistance Force, workers from nongovernmental organizations operating in Afghanistan, and "officials and workers of the stooge Karzai regime." The Taliban stressed that suicide and insider attacks would be used, and warned Afghans to "stay away from the bases of the invaders, their residential areas or working for them in order to avoid civilian losses." [See LWJ report, Taliban promise suicide assaults, 'insider attacks' in this year's spring offensive.]
Over the past five weeks, the Taliban and their allies, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, have stepped up suicide operations against the Coalition, NGOs, and Afghan institutions. There have been 11 high-profile suicide attacks, including the attack today in Kabul, since May 23.