Taliban suicide bomber strikes in Kabul as election looms

A Taliban suicide bomber struck in Kabul today, killing UN and NATO personnel in a deadly attack on a military convoy. The suicide attack is the second in Kabul in four days and takes place as the Taliban is stepping up attacks just days before the Aug. 20 election.

The suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a military convoy as it traveled down Jalalabad Road, a main avenue on the outskirts of Kabul lined with numerous military and international compounds.

Seven people were reported killed in the strike, including two workers from the United Nations and an unknown number of Coalition troops. Coalition forces are still “assessing casualties and damage,” according to a press release from the International Security Assistance Force. More than 50 civilians were also wounded, and 18 vehicles in the convoy were reported damaged in the attack.

Today’s suicide attack was preceded by another strike in the heart of Kabul on Aug. 15, when a suicide car bomber detonated outside the ISAF headquarters. The bombing took place in a high security zone just 30 yards from the outer wall of headquarters. The Taliban took credit for the attack, which killed seven, but said the main target was the nearby US embassy.

The Taliban are seeking to disrupt the Aug. 20 election that will decide Afghanistan’s next president and other provincial offices. The Taliban have vowed to conduct attacks to block the vote.

The violence peaked today with numerous strikes across Afghanistan. A suicide bomber killed three Afghan soldiers and two civilians in an attack on a security checkpoint in the Chora district in Uruzgan province.

The Taliban have also struck in the previously peaceful North. In Badakhshan province, the Taliban killed two employees of the Afghan Independent Election Commission and their driver in a roadside bombing. In Jawzjan province, the Taliban gunned down a candidate for the provincial council.

The Taliban also have attacked polling centers and threatened to destroy all buildings used during the upcoming election. The Taliban torched a school in Paktia that was to be used as a polling center. Polling centers in Ghazni and Logar provinces are also reported to have been attacked.

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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