Suicide assault teams target foreigners in Afghan capital

A Taliban suicide assault team struck in the heart of Afghanistan’s capital, killing 17 people.

Several suicide bombers began their attack in the early morning at a guesthouse used by Indian nationals that is located close to the Kabul City Center, a shopping mall, and the Safi Landmark hotel.

One of the suicide bombers is said to have detonated outside a guesthouse used by Indian nationals, which is thought to have been the main target of the attack. Five Indian nationals are among those confirmed to have been killed, Quqnoos reported.

Another suicide bomber detonated outside the Safi Landmark. The building was damaged in the attack. Other members of the suicide assault team then entered the shopping center and were engaged by Afghan police. Fighting was reported for more than two hours after the attack began; two Afghan policemen were killed in the gunfight.

The Taliban took credit for the attack.

Today’s attack closely follows the pattern of a series of Taliban and Haqqani Network strikes in Afghanistan’s cities since January 2008. The Taliban have been targeting ministry buildings, security installations, the Indian Embassy, hotels, guesthouses, and shopping centers.

The last such attack, on Jan. 18, took place at a central square where the presidential palace, the Justice Ministry, and the Central Bank are located. Fighting spread to the Serena Hotel, the Grand Afghan shopping center, and a movie theater. Seven Taliban fighters, three soldiers, and two civilians were killed in the fighting.

Another attack, on Oct. 24, 2009, targeted a UN guesthouse in Kabul. The assault team killed five foreign UN workers and three Afghans before Afghan police killed the attackers.

Similar attacks have taken place in Pakistan’s major cities, as well as in Mumbai, India. The Mumbai attack was the most deadly, with more than 170 people killed as the Lashkar-e-Taiba assault teams were able to shut down the city for more than 60 hours.

Today’s terror assault took place as India and Pakistan conducted the first high-level talks since the Mumbai assault, which was carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba. India has insisted that Pakistan rein in terrorist groups operating on its soil.

“We have suffered many, many hundreds of Mumbais,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Salman Bashir said after the meeting. “We have lost a great number of civilians. Pakistan does not believe that India should lecture us and demand Pakistan does this or that. That is not how inter-state relations are conducted.”

List of major complex and suicide attacks in Afghanistan since January 2008:

Feb. 26, 2010: A Taliban assault team killed 17 people in an attack on an Indian guesthouse in Kabul.

Jan. 18, 2010: A Taliban assault team struck at the presidential palace, the Justice Ministry, and the Central Bank. Seven Taliban fighters, three policemen, and two civilians were killed.

Oct. 24, 2009: An al Qaeda and Haqqani Network suicide assault team killed five foreign UN workers and three Afghans in an attack on a UN guesthouse in Kabul.

Oct. 8, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 17 civilians and wounded more than 80 in an attack outside the Indian embassy in Kabul.

Sept. 2, 2009: 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.

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 daylong 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.

July 7, 2009: A suicide car bomber hit the outside wall of the Indian embassy in a crowded neighborhood in Kabul on Monday, killing 54 people and wounding more than 140.

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.

Additional sources:

“At least 12 killed in attack in Afghan capital Kabul”, Xinhuanet

“Afghan police: 7 die in series of blasts in Kabul”, The Associated Press

“India focus on Mumbai ‘unfair’: Salman Bashir”, Dawn

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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  • Jimmy says:

    An attack on a ‘guesthouse used by Indian Nationals’….
    The Taliban cannot tolerate that common Afghans are friends and well wishers of India and vice-versa. This clearly shows who controls the Taliban today. Afghans have the lowest possible opinion of Pakistan, the world’s largest exporter of terrorism, mayhem, killings and instability. Sadly, it has destroyed a lovely country like Afghanistan for its own selfish gains.
    Well, such cowardly attacks won’t deter India-Afghanistan friendship which is deep and based on mutual respect and assistance. Three cheers for India – Afghan solidarity!

  • Agha H Amin says:

    i often travel by rooad from pakistan.invariably after 2200 hours at night there are hardly any guards to check vehicles.even if someone stops a vehicle he will happy with a 100 or maximum 500 afghanis.i wonder where all the money for ANA and ANP has gone.the defence and interiorb ministers are ineffective and the re-incarnation of military virtues in afghan national army proceeding at a snails pace

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Stable and democratic states like India … and HOPEFULLY Iraq (90% there) and Afghanistan (40% there with a bullet to the top) … upend the entire pathological culture of the Middle Eastern/South Asian Muslim world. Humans of good faith and kind nature (95% of the Muslim world) need to be given a better option than the one they face now through the onerous fascism of tribalism/Salafism. That’s what we’re doing spending treasure and vital hero blood in those places IMO.


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