Taliban suicide assault squad attacks police outpost in eastern Afghanistan

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Map of Afghanistan’s provinces. Click map to view larger image.

A Taliban suicide assault squad was repelled as it tried to overrun an Afghan police outpost today in the Urgun district in Paktika province. Four Taliban fighters and one policeman were reported killed in the fighting along the border with Pakistan.

At least four Taliban fighters were involved in the attack, according to reports from the region. The attack began when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a truck packed with explosives into the main gate of the police outpost, killing a policeman.

Three Taliban fighters armed with assault rifles and grenades then attempted to overrun the police outpost but were beaten back by police after an hour-long gun battle.

The Taliban claimed the attack and boasted that “dozens of foreign and domestic soldiers” were killed during the assault. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman, claimed that a suicide bomber named Muhammad Naeem drove a “van packed with about 7 tons of explosives into the gate of the building” and killed 10 Afghan policemen. The Taliban routinely inflate or manufacture Coalition and Afghan security forces’ casualties

In the past, the Taliban have carried out such attacks from across the border in Pakistan. Paktika borders South Waziristan, a haven for Taliban fighters. Mullah Nazir, a Taliban leader in South Waziristan, has run fighters across the border to attack Afghan Army and police outposts. Nonetheless, the Pakistani government refuses to act against Nazir and views him as a “good Taliban” as he does not advocate violence against the Pakistani government. Nazir shelters al Qaeda leaders and operatives and has vowed to support Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden.

Today’s suicide attack is the fourth against Afghan and Coalition forces in five days.

On May 17, a team of three suicide bombers armed with assault rifles attacked a border police headquarters in Kandahar. The first suicide bomber detonated at the outer wall, opening a hole that allowed the two other bombers to enter the compound. Police killed the two other bombers during a gunfight that lasted nearly an hour.

On May 18, a suicide bomber rammed into a Coalition convoy in Kabul. Twelve civilians and two colonels, two lieutenant colonels, and two soldiers were killed in the attack.

On May 19, a Taliban assault team attempted to storm the US airbase in Bagram in Parwan province, but was beaten back by US forces defending the base. An estimated 12 Taliban fighters, including four suicide bombers, and a US military contractor were killed during the attack.

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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