Suicide bomber strikes in Uruzgan police station

Twenty-one Afghan police were killed and seven more were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his vest at a training center for police reservists in the town of Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.

The suicide bomber penetrated the training center’s security by dressing as a policeman, Radio Netherlands reported. The bomber then detonated his suicide vest among a crowd of policemen. Several policemen were seriously wounded and the blast damaged several buildings.

The Taliban took credit for the suicide attack. The Taliban have stepped up attacks on the Afghan police as they are poorly armed and not as well trained as the Afghan Army and Coalition forces. An estimated 720 Afghan policemen were killed during the last six months of 2008. Most were killed in frontal attacks, Afghanistan’s interior ministry reported.

The attack on the Tarin Kot police training facility is the latest in a series of strikes against Afghan police and intelligence headquarters. On Dec. 4, 2008, a three-man suicide team stormed the Khost provincial headquarters of Afghanistan’s intelligence service. Six intelligence and police officials were killed and another seven were wounded.

Taliban suicide teams struck at security headquarters in southern Afghanistan on two consecutive days in September 2008. On Sept. 6, a Taliban suicide bomber penetrated a secure government building in the southwestern Afghanistan province of Nimroz and detonated his vest. The attack killed six people, including Nimroz province’s intelligence chief and his 20-year-old son.

The next day two Taliban suicide bombers entered a police headquarters in Kandahar province and searched for a senior police general in charge of border security at the Spin Boldak crossing point. Six policemen were killed and 37 were wounded, including the general, in the bombings.

NATO and the US are looking to fill the security vacuum in the south and east, and areas around Kabul. The US will double its forces, while NATO and the Afghan government are creating the Afghan Public Protection Force, which are local militias patterned after the Awakening in Iraq. The US is slated to deploy four combat brigades, or an estimated 30,000 troops, to Afghanistan next summer. A fifth brigade devoted to training Afghan forces may also be sent by the end of the summer.

The Afghan Public Protection Force program has already begun, according to Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan’s Interior Minister. “After training they will have the responsibility of protecting the people, providing security for the highways, schools, clinics and other government institutions,” Atmar told The Associated Press. Atmar declined to say where the program has begun, but officials told the AP the program will begin in the Taliban-infested province of Wardak, just south of Kabul.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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7 Comments

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 02/02/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Liz says:

    Was there any mention of how long the Public Protection Force program takes… from beginning to the end of training, will it take a month? Six months?

  • cjr says:

    If you piece together info from several articles:
    ~6000 fighters will be trained by about July to cover 40 districts. 100-200 fighers per district. Compare this to Afghanistan overall has ~400 districts and each district is about 800,000 people. ANSF(ANA+ANP) numbers ~160,000 and ISAF 70,000. PPF is a very small program.
    My supposition:
    It is currenlty a pilot program. The goal is just to determine if this kind of tribal militia improves security or if it causes more problems than it solve. Sometime late this year, the results will be evaluated. If good, the program will be expanded. If bad, it will be dropped.

  • Marlin says:

    Here’s an informed opinion about why more and more Taliban attacks are directed against the Afghan police.

    This is because the Taliban, and Afghans in general, have discovered that, unlike the Russians during the 1980s, the current bunch of foreign troops (NATO and American) are much harder to kill. Worse, they come after you.
    […]
    The tribal fighters are willing to take on Afghan police or soldiers. The government security forces are not pushovers, but they are not nearly as lethal as the foreign troops. That is slowly changing, especially with Afghan soldiers. So more of the Taliban attacks are being directed at the police, who take more casualties than the Afghan army.

    StrategyPage: The Afghan Crime Wave

  • KnightHawk says:

    “the current bunch of foreign troops (NATO and American) are much harder to kill. Worse, they come after you. ”
    You don’t say!
    FYI I think cjr meant meant 80k per prov since I doubt they ballooned to a country of 320million over night, that are we’ve been handing out far more Viagra then the CIA is letting on. 🙂

  • 13times says:

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Suspected militants blew up a bridge in northwestern Pakistan’s Khyber Pass on Tuesday, cutting the main route for supplies bound for Western forces in Afghanistan, Pakistani government officials said.
    The 30-meter (100-foot) iron bridge, 23 km (15 miles) west of the city of Peshawar, was blown up after midnight and officials said all traffic along the route was suspended.
    //news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090203/wl_nm/us_pakistan_afghan

  • cjr says:

    Knighthawk:
    Touche and you are correct. 80K per province.

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