A Taliban suicide assault team attacked the United Nations compound in the western Afghan city of Herat today. Several members of the four-man suicide team were able to enter the compound before being gunned down by security guards and Afghan police.
The attack took place at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) compound in Herat. The four members of the suicide assault team, all of whom were armed with suicide vests and assault rifles, pulled up to the outer gate of the compound and attempted to break through by firing a rocket-propelled grenade. When the attack failed, the driver of the car pulled up to the gate and detonated his car bomb, breaching the wall and allowing the other three fighters to enter.
Afghan security guards and policemen opened fire on the remaining members and killed them after a gunfight that lasted for nearly 30 minutes. During the fighting, one security guard and a policeman were wounded. No members of the UNAMA staff were reported killed or wounded.
No group has taken credit for the attack, and the Taliban have not released a statement about the attack on their website, Voice of Jihad.
But the attack was likely executed by Taliban fighters under the command of Samihullah, who leads a group of fighters known as the Mujahideen of Herat. Samihullah is closely allied with al Qaeda and works with the Ansar Corps, the Iranian Qods Force sub-command that directs Iranian operations in Afghanistan. Samihullah is known to facilitate the movement of al Qaeda fighters from Iran into Afghanistan.
Today’s suicide assault in Herat is the latest in a string of such attacks by the Taliban and al Qaeda and its affiliates. Suicide assaults by heavily armed teams of fighters wearing vests have been carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Chechnya, Somalia, and India. The November 2008 terror assault in Mumbai, India, resulted in the deaths of more than 170 people, and the attack shut down India’s financial capital for more than 60 hours.
• Four die in attack on UN compound, Pajwhok Afghan News
• Attack on UN Compound Leaves No Staff Dead , Tolo News
• UN staff survive Afghanistan attack, Al Jazeera
• Taliban commander linked to Iran, al Qaeda targeted in western Afghanistan, The Long War Journal
• 68 Taliban surrender after commander killed in Herat, The Long War Journal
• Senior insurgent leader reported killed in Western Afghanistan, The Long War Journal
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