Suicide bomber kills district chief in attack at Kunduz mosque
Jihadists, likely from the Taliban or the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, killed the district governor for Dasht-i-Archi in Kunduz province today in a suicide attack at a mosque. Afghan officials reported that 20 people were killed in the blast. From Pajhwok:
The dead included Dasht-i-Archi district's administrative head Sheikh Sadruddin, his bodyguards, a public representative's brother and civilians.
Public Health Department official Abdul Qudus Miakhel quoted a district clinic doctor as saying that 20 people were killed and 30 others wounded. Some of the injured were evacuated to hospitals in Takhar and Kunduz provinces.
Takhar Public Health Director Abdul Qayyum Qane confirmed receiving nine of the injured, with provincial council chief Abdul Qahar's brother, Abdul Jabbar, succumbing to his wounds on the way to hospital.
Col. Abdullah, the deputy police chief for Kunduz, the bomber struck at 8.30am when a number of people were attending a condolence ceremony for a tribal elder, who died a day earlier.
While no group has claimed credit for the attack, either the Taliban or the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or both, likely planned and executed the attack. Both groups have claimed credit for suicide attacks in the north and target senior Afghan government and military officials, often at mosques or during weddings and funerals [see LWJ reports, Suicide bomber kills 40 people at mosque in Afghan north and Suicide bomber kills 20 Afghans, including member of parliament, at funeral].
The Taliban and the IMU are known to have integrated their operations in the Afghan north. Before the International Security Assistance Force ended daily operational reporting of its activities throughout Afghanistan, it would routinely detail raids against the IMU and explain the relationship between the two groups.
One such example was a raid on Nov. 30, 2012 in the Almar district in Faryab province that killed Shukrullah, and two "insurgents."
ISAF described Shukrullah as a facilitator who "trained insurgents and provided improvised explosive device components to both IMU and Taliban fighters throughout Faryab and Sar-i-Pul province." In a follow-up inquiry, ISAF told The Long War Journal that Shukrullah "was the senior IMU/Taliban leader in the Almar district of Faryab province" and that the "other two individuals killed with him were known Taliban insurgents."
While ISAF's operational reports detailing the IMU and Taliban relationship have stopped, there is little reason to believe that the two groups no longer cooperate.