Taliban kills 13 in suicide assault on Kandahar government center

Taliban suicide bombers disguised as Afghan soldiers attempted to kill the Kandahar provincial council after entering the compound. The complex attack is the latest in the series of similar assaults that have targeted police and government installations in Afghanistan, as well as in India and Pakistan.

The attack took place at the Kandahar provincial council office as a meeting was in progress. One of the attackers detonated a car bomb at the front gate, allowing the three other suicide attackers dressed as Afghan National Army troops and carrying AK-47 assault rifles to penetrate security and enter the compound.

Security forces on the scene killed two of the Taliban bombers, while the third was able to detonate his vest. Most of the casualties appear to have been inflicted during the suicide bombing at the front gate of the complex. Seven civilians and six policemen were killed in the attack, The Associated Press reported.

The Taliban were targeting a tribal meeting being held at the compound, Ahmad Wali Karzai, President Hamid Karzai’s brother and the chief of the provincial council who escaped the attack, said. But the provincial education director and the deputy health director were among those killed.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi took credit for the attack.

Latest in a series of strikes

The Taliban receive training for such attacks at training facilities in Pakistan’s northwest as well as in Baluchistan province. The Taliban trains with al Qaeda and other allied jihadi groups inside of Pakistan and some Taliban fighters become members of al Qaeda’s Shadow Army, the elite paramilitary force operating in the Afghan/Pakistani region.

Today’s attack in Kandahar is the latest in a series of complex assault on police, military, intelligence, and government installations in Afghanistan. Similar attacks have also taken place in Pakistan and India.

The Taliban have launched three other such attacks this year. Just yesterday, a suicide bomber penetrated security at a police compound in Kandahar’s Andar district. The suicide bomber, who was wearing a police uniform, killed five policemen and four civilians after detonating his vest.

The Feb. 11 multi-pronged assault on two Afghan ministries and a prison headquarters in the capital of Kabul resulted in 19 people killed and more than 50 wounded. On Feb. 2, a suicide bomber detonated his vest inside a training center for police reservists in the town of Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province. Twenty-one Afghan police were killed and seven more were wounded in the suicide attack.

The Taliban conducted several high profile complex assaults in 2008. 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. 7 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. On Sept. 6, a Taliban suicide bomber penetrated a secure government building in the southwestern 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 two most daring attacks took place in early 2008 in Kabul. On April 27, a Taliban team attempted to assassinate President Karzai during a military parade outside of Kabul. Two members of parliament were killed and eleven others were wounded during the barrage of automatic gunfire and mortar shells.

On January 14, a suicide assault team from the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network raided the heavily secured Serena Hotel. Terrorists wearing suicide vests breached the front gate with a suicide attack and then entered the hotel and began shooting civilians. A Norwegian journalist, an American aid worker, and at least five security guards were killed in the assault.

Other major complex attacks took place in Pakistan and India. There were two assaults in Lahore during March, one that targeted the Sri Lankan cricket team and the other inside of a police training center. The November 2008 terror assault in Mumbai was the largest such attack. More than 170 people were killed and the city was locked down for 60 hours.

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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  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/02/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Minnor says:

    “Mumbai style attack” – ak47 and grenade. Fortification in where defending guard should be positioned at height – overlooking from first floor balcony – just a crude idea.

  • Abheek says:

    Bill – I appreciate immensly the hard work that you and your team puts in to get us information on the ‘Long War’.
    Could I request you to refrain from bracketing India with P-stan and A-stan. We don’t share their culture neither is situation here as bad as in AfPak. We unduly get the occasional attacks due to various factors – jealous & evil neighbour & proximity effect.
    Thanks for understanding !

  • NS says:

    I read the post one more time just to make sure that i understand where you are coming from. All that Bill is saying is that India has been a victim of similar military style attacks – i am not sure if you can claim this as India being grouped/bracketed with Pakistan and Afghanistan per se.
    I dont know how long you have been visiting LWJ but this is one of the few sites that reported on the Paki ISI / jihadi connection to the Mumbai attacks in depth. I dont think India is being bracketed with any country – what is clear is that there seems to be a common jihadi angle to all these attacks with support from elements of the ISI.
    Also, you are wrong about “occasional attacks” on India. Other than Iraq., we have been the hardest hit by Islamic terror in the last 5 years – whether it is from SIMI or other local jihadi groups, it is pretty well known that the ISI supports these groups financially, religiously and of course militarily. Mumbai already had a terrorist attack on trains in the summer of 2006. Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bangalore have all had their share of terror attacks too.
    It is obvious that India and Afghanistan are both facing a common enemy. I think Pakistanis will accquiese to a jihadi Government if push comes to shove. After all, just ask the Iranians – who would have thought that an Islamic govt could capture power given that there are so many moderates/liberals in Iran ?
    I am afraid Pakistan is inching close to that and as usual India is going to bear the brunt of this potentially grave development.

  • Abheek says:

    NS – Thanks for responding. As a fellow countryman, I share your thoughts on our predicament – a soft government who doesn’t take bull by its horn, a evil neighbour, a miniscule proportion of the Indian muslim community which indulges in these nefarious activities – all this has been behind what we as a nation have gone through over the past five years. And our figures have been high due to the bomb blasts that you have mentioned. But what I meant is all this doesn’t make situation in India as bad as AFPak or Iraq. The frequency of such incidences in India is thankfully no where near as AfPak or Iraq. And this is what I wanted to convey when I said about us not to to be bracketed with AfPak – even as victims.

  • MILNEWS.ca says:

    Just spotted this: a Taliban video (~34 minutes) showing the preparation, including video of the cameraman being dropped off before the final run in, as well as computer-generated recreations (CAUTION: Link to jihadi web page):
    Will share download link at non-jihadi site as soon as it’s ready.

  • MILNEWS.ca says:

    As promised HUGE .zip file (168 Mb) of Taliban video downloadable here:
    Spookiest moment, around 20 minutes in, where the videographer gets out of the SUV and, still shooting video, the attackers inside the vehicle wave as before driving away to carry out the attack…. yikes!


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