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.