The Taliban claimed credit for yesterday’s suicide attack at a checkpoint that guards the entrance to the Panjshir Valley in the central province of Panjshir. Between 12 and 15 people, including six Afghan policemen and six construction workers, are reported to have been killed in the deadly attack.
The Taliban said on Voice of Jihad, their official media outlet, that the “martyr Mujahid, Hizbullah blew up his explosive-filled corolla car at the gate targeting the post, killing at least 13 puppets and wounding 16 others. The blast was powerful enough to blow the post to bits.”
Panjshir province is the most secure in Afghanistan; attacks there are a rarity. Only three suicide attacks have taken place in Panjshir since the war began in 2001, including yesterday’s bombing.
The last suicide attack in Panjshir occurred in May 2013. A joint Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan suicide assault team attempted to storm the governor’s compound. The IMU has integrated its operations with the Taliban in the Afghan north; the two groups conduct joint attacks, and IMU leaders serve in the Taliban’s shadow government in some areas.
The first suicide attack in Panjshir attack took place in October 2011, when a suicide assault team hit the US-run Provincial Reconstruction Team headquarters in the Rakha district.
The suicide assault, or coordinated attack using multiple suicide bombers and an assault team, is a tactic that is frequently used in Afghanistan by the Taliban and their allies, including the Haqqani Network, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, al Qaeda, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Suicide assaults are also commonly executed by al Qaeda and allied jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Nigeria.