A Taliban suicide bomber assassinated the deputy chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence service and the leader of the provincial council during an attack at a mosque in Laghman province. The two Afghan leaders were among 23 people killed in the deadly attack.
The suicide bomber detonated just as Dr. Abdullah Laghmani, the deputy director of the National Directorate of Security, arrived at a mosque in the city of Mehtarlam, the capital of Laghman province.
Among those killed in the blast besides Laghmani were Imaduddin Abdul Rahimzai, the chief of the provincial council, and a senior aide to the governor. More than 50 people were reported wounded, several critically, Pajhwok Afghan News reported.
Senior religious and tribal leaders were also present at the ceremony; it is unclear how many were killed or wounded. The leaders were meeting in Mehtarlam to inaugurate the reconstruction of the mosque.
The Taliban claimed credit for today’s attack. “We were looking for him for a long time, but today we succeeded,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
One month ago, the Taliban released a new set of guidelines that said suicide attacks should only be used for maximum effect and civilian casualties should be avoided at all cost. But today’s attack and others, such as the bombings in Kandahar that killed more than 40 civilians, show that the Taliban will continue to conduct major strikes in civilian areas despite the new directives.
In the past, the Taliban have conducted numerous suicide and other attacks in mosques in Afghanistan and in Pakistan [see Taliban continue mosque attacks, strike in Lahore and Nowshera, Pakistan for a list of attacks in Pakistan].
The Taliban have targeted senior security and intelligence officials as well as political leaders in a series of suicide and complex assaults across the country.
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.
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