Suicide assault team targets civilian guesthouse in Kabul

The Taliban have claimed they carried out the failed suicide assault on a compound in the Afghan capital of Kabul today that left two security guards and two Taliban fighters dead.

Two suicide bombers armed with assault rifles attempted to storm a guesthouse used by foreigners, The New York Times reported. Two Afghan security guards who work for Hart Security, a British security company, stopped the two-man Taliban team at the main gate of the guesthouse. The Taliban fighters then detonated their vests at the gate.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The New York Times that a four-man Taliban suicide team attacked the compound and penetrated the perimeter, killing 23 people inside the guesthouse. But there is no evidence to support Mujahid’s claim, and the Taliban provide wildly exaggerated casualty reports on their website, the Voice of Jihad. The Taliban claim that scores of Coalition and Afghan troops are killed and dozens of “tanks” are destroyed on a daily basis.

The Taliban have targeted civilian guesthouses, hotels, and embassies in Kabul in an attempt to kill as many foreign civilians as possible. A Feb. 26, 2010, attack on a guesthouse used by Indian nationals killed 17 people, including nine Indians and two Europeans. A similar 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.

The Indian embassy has been the focus two Taliban attacks over the past year. On Oct. 8, 2009, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 17 civilians and wounded more than 80 in an attack outside the Indian embassy in Kabul. And on July 7, 2009, a suicide car bomber hit the outside wall of the Indian embassy in a crowded neighborhood in Kabul, killing 54 people and wounding more than 140.

These attacks have been carried out by what ISAF has called the Kabul Attack Network, which is made of up the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and al Qaeda.

Background on the Kabul Attack Network

The Kabul Attack Network is led by Dawood (or Daud) and Taj Mir Jawad, military and intelligence officials told The Long War Journal. Dawood is the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kabul, while Taj Mir Jawad is a top commander in the Haqqani Network. In the US military files recently released by Wikileaks, Taj Mir Jawad is identified as a top Haqqani Network leader.

“The Haqqani Network is deeply entrenched in the Kabul Attack Network specifically with the facilitation of weapons and fighters into the area south of Kabul in Logar and Wardak provinces,” an ISAF public affairs official told The Long War Journal.

Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well.

“The intelligence service of our neighboring country has definitely had its role in equipping and training of this group,” Saeed Ansari, the spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, said on May 24.

Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have been documented as backing the Taliban and the Haqqani Network faction. The Quetta Shura, the Taliban’s executive council, is based in Quetta and Karachi in Pakistan, while the Haqqani Network operates from Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. [See LWJ report “Pakistan’s Jihad” and Threat Matrix report “Pakistan backs Afghan Taliban” for additional information on the ISI’s complicity in attacks in Afghanistan and the region.]

Since July 14, Afghan and Coalition forces have captured four Taliban facilitators and a “Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin/Taliban-associated attack planner” during four separate raids in Kabul and the surrounding areas, according to International Security Assistance Force press releases.

The Kabul Attack Network sought unsuccessfully to disrupt the Kabul Conference that was held in July, and the network continues to conduct attacks in the area. On July 18, the Kabul Attack Network was behind two suicide attacks. One attack killed four Afghan civilians in a suicide bombing near a medical clinic in Kabul. The other suicide attack, which failed, took place outside Bagram in Parwan province; the attacker was from Paktika province, a stronghold of the Haqqani Network. Two months ago, the terror network executed the May 18 suicide attack in Kabul that killed a US colonel and a Canadian colonel, two lieutenant colonels, two US soldiers, and 12 Afghan civilians.


Fatal Attack on Guesthouse in Afghan Capital, The New York Times

2 American troops missing in Kabul as US targets Kabul Attack Network, The Long War Journal

Suicide assault teams target foreigners in Afghan capital, The Long War Journal

Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, behind attack on UN guesthouse in Kabul, The Long War Journal

Suicide assault teams target foreigners in Afghan capital, The Long War Journal

Suicide attack kills 17 outside Indian embassy in Kabul, The Long War Journal

41 killed in Kabul suicide strike at Indian embassy, The Long War Journal

Kabul Attack Network-associated Attack Planner Captured in Kabul, ISAF press release

Afghan and Coalition Force Captures Taliban Facilitator in Kabul, ISAF press release

Insurgents Captured, Killed in Kabul, Kandahar and Zabul Provinces, ISAF press release

IJC Operational Update, July 15, ISAF press release

Haqqani Network executed Kabul suicide attack, The Long War Journal

Toll in Kabul Suicide Attack Included U.S. and Canadian Officers, The New York Times

Taliban suicide bomber kills 18 in Kabul, The Long War Journal

Pakistan’s Jihad, The Long War Journal

Pakistan backs Afghan Taliban, Threat Matrix

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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1 Comment

  • O_O says:

    Well, how the does the army know who the Taliban are? Logically the taliban will get the first shot, and the army will fight back only when they see the Taliban attacking.Logically the Taliban will probably attack when they have a good shot, this is only logical. According to the articles I’ve been reading for the past few months the Taliban never kill or take out anything. Neither the Taliban completely suck but in that case the war shouldn’t be going on this long……I get the feeling these report aren’t telling us the truth.


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