The Taliban suicide bomber who killed two American soldiers and two contractors at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan’s central province of Parwan on Nov. 12 had joined the Afghan government’s “peace process” and reconciled in 2008. He then received a job at Bagram Air Base, which he then used to execute his attack. The Bagram attack took place as US soldiers and other Americans on the base were commemorating Veterans Day with a 5K run.
He had been working at the largest US military base in Afghanistan for the past five years, said the Bagram district’s administrative chief, Abdul Shakoor Qudusi,
[Qudusi] identified the bomber as Qari Naib, 23, who hailed from the Laghmani village of the district. Naib’s brother and father have been arrested by police.
Wahid Sediqui, the governor’s spokesman, endorsed the district chief’s view and said Naib had received vocational training on metalwork provided by South Korea.
It is unclear if the suicide bomber remained a Taliban plant at Bagram for the eight years since he joined the peace process, or if he was recently persuaded by the Taliban to rejoin its ranks and execute the attack. The Taliban does have a department, known as “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration,” which encourages Afghan security personnel and workers to defect. This department was created by the Taliban’s founder and first emir, Mullah Omar, and has been instrumental in getting Afghan security personnel to attack US and NATO troops. [See Threat Matrix report, Mullah Omar addresses green-on-blue attacks.]
The Bagram attack is worrisome as the base is one of the most secure facilities in Afghanistan, and is a major hub for US air operations in Afghanistan. The US and NATO are both heavily reliant on local Afghans to provide key services as the number of troops near an all-time low (the US has less than 10,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan). Afghans who work at US facilities will increasingly come under more pressure to help the Taliban as the group continues to make gains across the country.