Afghan police beat back another coordinated suicide assault in a major city in the east today. Police in Khost City killed seven Taliban fighters as they attempted to assault the provincial police headquarters and a bank.
Three suicide bombers from the Haqqani Network who were armed with assault rifles launched the first wave of the attack on the police station but were gunned after being surrounded, Quqnoos reported.
Two more bombers attempted to enter the compound after the first wave failed, but they were also shot and killed by policemen.
The sixth suicide bomber detonated his car bomb short of the main gate of the station, killing only himself and wounding two policemen. The seventh bomber was killed by police outside of a bank.
Khost City was the scene of a similar attack this year. On May 12, a squad of suicide bombers assaulted government and security installations in Khost. The Haqqani Network fighters attempted to penetrate security at the installations in Khost City but were beaten back by Afghan and US security forces. The Haqqani Network also set ambushes for US and Afghan forces as they responded to the attacks from nearby bases. Eleven Taliban fighters and nine civilians were killed in the day-long assault.
The Haqqani Network is a Taliban group with close ties to al Qaeda. The Haqqanis are based in North Waziristan in Pakistan and run operations in Paktia, Paktika, Khost, and neighboring provinces.
Taliban steps up coordinated suicide assaults
Today’s suicide swarm attack in Khost is the third such attack in the east this week. One other such attack appears to have been broken up in western Afghanistan.
On July 21, suicide bombers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked government installations and a US base in the cities of Gardez and Jalalabad. Eight Haqqani Network and Taliban fighters and six Afghan security personnel were reported killed in the failed attacks.
Police also appear to have broken up another such assault in the western provinces of Nimroz and Herat. Afghan security forces detained seven suicide bombers, a Taliban commander and two fighters, and a cleric during raids on July 22.
Over the past two years, the Taliban attacks have become more sophisticated and more effective. The Taliban receive training for such attacks at training facilities in Pakistan’s northwest as well as in Baluchistan province. Taliban fighters train with al Qaeda and other allied jihadi groups inside Pakistan, and some Taliban fighters become members of al Qaeda’s Shadow Army, the elite paramilitary force operating in the Afghan/Pakistani border region.
The Afghan security forces have largely responded effectively in repelling such attacks once they are launched. Most of the suicide bombers have failed to reach their targets, and civilian and police casualties have been relatively low.
List of major complex and suicide attacks in Afghanistan since January 2008
July 24, 2009: Police in Khost City killed seven Taliban fighters as they attempted to assault the provincial police headquarters and a bank.
July 21, 2009: Suicide bombers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked government installations and a US base in the cities of Gardez and Jalalabad. Eight Taliban fighters and six Afghan security personnel were reported killed in the failed attacks.
May 12, 2009: The Taliban launched a multi-pronged suicide attack against government and security installations in Khost province, a stronghold of the deadly Haqqani Network. Eleven Taliban fighters and nine civilians were killed in the day-long assault.
April 1, 2009: Four Taliban suicide bombers disguised as Afghan soldiers attempted to kill the Kandahar provincial council after entering the compound. Security forces foiled the attack but seven civilians and six policemen were killed during the fighting.
March 30, 2009: A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform penetrated security at a police compound in Kandahar’s Andar district and killed five policemen and four civilians after detonating his vest.
Feb. 11, 2009 The Taliban conducted a multi-pronged assault on two Afghan ministries and a prison headquarters in the capital of Kabul that resulted in 19 people killed and more than 50 wounded.
Feb. 2, 2009: 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.
Dec. 4, 2008: A three-man suicide team stormed the headquarters of Afghanistan’s intelligence service in Khost province. Six intelligence and police officials were killed and another seven were wounded.
Sept. 7, 2008: 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.
Sept. 6, 2008: 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.
On April 27, 2008: A Taliban assault team attempted to assassinate President Karzai during a military parade outside Kabul. Two members of parliament were killed and 11 others were wounded during the barrage of automatic gunfire and mortar shells.
Jan. 14, 2008: 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.