The Afghan Taliban claimed credit for today’s suicide attack in Parwan province that killed 16 people, including four Coalition soldiers, two policemen, and 10 civilians. The suicide bomber apparently targeted a military convoy as it passed an area where civilians were gathered.
In a terse press release, the International Security Assistance Force confirmed that four soldiers were killed in “an enemy forces attack”:
Four International Security Assistance Force service members died as a result of an enemy forces attack in eastern Afghanistan today.
It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
The nationality of the ISAF soldiers has not been disclosed, but Reuters reported that the four ISAF personnel were Czech.
The Taliban claimed the attack in a statement released at Voice of Jihad, their official website. The Taliban identified the suicide bomber as “a Mujahid of the martyr unit of the Islamic Emirate, Abdullah, resident of Ghazni province,” and said he “detonated his explosive-filled belt at approximately 8:00 am local time, targeting the convoy of the Special Forces in Charikar city, the capital of Parwan province and killing as many as 15 foreign aggressors with wounding a dozen more.”
The Taliban and their powerful sub-group, the Haqqani Network, as well as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Hizb-i-Islam Gulbuddin, and al Qaeda, are all known to operate in Parwan province. These groups and others are known to coordinate operations as part of what the US military used to call the Kabul Attack Network.
In January, the Taliban claimed to have carried out the Jan. 17 suicide assault on a Lebanese restaurant to avenge the Jan. 15 raid by ISAF and Afghan forces in Parwan province that targeted a senior Taliban leader who had significant ties to the Haqqani Network.
The IMU has also carried suicide attacks in Parwan province. Most recently, the IMU claimed credit for the Oct. 18, 2013 suicide attack that targeted an ISAF convoy in the province.
A few years earlier, the IMU, al Qaeda, and the Pakistani Taliban executed a suicide assault on Bagram Airbase in Parwan, on May 10, 2010. The assault was led by Bekay Harrach, a dual-hatted IMU and al Qaeda leader from Germany. Harrach is thought to have been killed during the attack.
An IMU commander known as Abbas Mansoor admitted in 2011 that the IMU carried out the Bagram Airbase assault in conjunction with other groups. “We were not the only organizers of this operation; rather, it was done in coordination and cooperation with other jihadi groups,” Mansoor said. “Twenty best sons of the Ummah were chosen for the team. There were Turks, Tajiks, Arabs, Pashtuns, and Afghans.”
The network of allied jihadist groups continues to coordinate operations throughout Afghanistan as the US and NATO continue to withdraw forces and transfer control to Afghan security forces. As we have seen in Iraq over the past year, the rapid transfer of control to ill-prepared local security forces has disastrous consequences.