Three ISAF soldiers and five civilian workers have been killed while repelling a Taliban terror assault on a police compound in the provincial capital of Kandahar.
The Taliban launched a coordinated, complex attack on an Afghan National Civil Order Police headquarters in Kandahar city yesterday in an attempt to overrun the compound, ISAF reported in a press release.
A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into the outer wall of the ANCOP compound in an attempt to breach the perimeter so an assault team could enter.
The Taliban followed up the suicide attack with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms and machine gun fire. ISAF stated that Afghan police and Coalition troops “prevented insurgents from penetrating the compound perimeter while additional Afghan and ISAF forces reinforced the headquarters’ defenses and successfully repelled the attack.”
The nationality of the three soldiers and five civilian workers was not disclosed. It is unclear if those killed died during the suicide attack or in the subsequent fighting. Elsewhere in Afghanistan, four ISAF soldiers were killed in an IED attack, and another soldier was killed by Taliban small-arms fire in the south.
Yesterday’s Taliban assault in Kandahar is the group’s the latest attempt to storm a Coalition and Afghan base. Since the end of May, the Taliban have launched assaults against Jalalabad Airfield, Bagram Airbase, and Kandahar Airfield, as well as at several smaller outposts in the south and east. All of the attacks were successfully repelled by Coalition and Afghan forces.
The Taliban attacks are designed to break the will of the Coalition and demonstrate that Taliban forces can strike in the heart of Afghanistan as well as along the periphery. Earlier this year, the Taliban announced that they would begin operation Al Faath, or Victory, on May 10. The Taliban said they would target Coalition and Afghan forces, their bases, the Afghan government, security and logistics companies, and anyone supporting the “foreign forces.”
The Taliban have also have targeted tribal leaders, politicians, and other elites for assassination as part of its offensive. More than 20 people, including the district chief for Arghandab and the deputy mayor of Kandahar City, have been killed over the past several months.
The Taliban’s military commander in Kandahar is Mullah Muhammad Isa Akhund. In an interview with Al Sumud, a Taliban magazine, Akhund claimed that nearly all of Kandahar is under Taliban control.
“The situation in Kandahar is favorable to the mujahedeen, with the grace of God, and the mujahedeen are present in effective and influential ways in the city of Kandahar, the farther districts, the surrounding areas, and the crucial roads of the province,” Akhund told Al Sumud. “It is known to all that the mujahedeen control the rural areas of the country.”
Top ISAF leaders and US politicians have described Kandahar as the strategic center of the country, and said the province is key to defeating the Taliban.
Over the past five months, ISAF has targeted top Taliban leaders in Kandahar in a series of raids. Key Taliban commanders recently killed in the province include Haji Agha, the Taliban’s military commander for the Panjwai, Dand, and Zhari districts in Kandahar; Mullah Zergay, the Taliban’s leader for Kandahar City and the districts of Zhari and Arghandab; and Izzatullah, the Taliban’s military commander for Panjwai.
• ISAF Casualties, ISAF press release
• Taliban attack airbase in eastern Afghanistan, The Long War Journal
• US troops repel complex Taliban assault on Bagram Airfield, The Long War Journal
• Taliban attack Kandahar Airfield, The Long War Journal
• Taliban: Next Afghan push coming Monday, Threat Matrix
• Taliban assassinate key district governor in Kandahar, The Long War Journal
• Senior Taliban commander killed in Kandahar, The Long War Journal
• Coalition and Afghan forces kill Taliban commander in Kandahar, The Long War Journal
• Interview with Taliban Commander in Kandahar Mullah Muhammad Isa Akhund, Al Sumud via the Al Fallujah Islamic Forums
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