Suicide assault team storms UN compound in western Afghanistan

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

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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  • Bill Hocter says:

    “Suicide assault team storms UN compound in western Afghan” and gets slaughtered while inflicting minimal harm. If this was a “storm” looks like the Jihadis caught the blowback! An excellent story that deserved a better headline.

  • Matt says:

    Wow, they really don’t deviate from this MO do they? Any word on who the company was that was protecting this UN compound? I had thought that the UN was using a British Company for some of their sites.

  • KJ says:

    Reuters has a story stating the Taliban did claim the attack as theirs. Mullah Bilal ring a bell anyone?
    Here’s the link, Taliban claiming the attack is at the bottom:

  • goatweed says:

    Is that British security company going to be allowed to continue operating in Afghanistan under Karzai’s new rules?

  • James says:

    Good news.
    They got what they wanted and desired, as in the sickening words of Nadal Hassan: “We love death more than you love life.”
    I say to that, give them just what they want.
    Where are the [so-called] “human rights” whiners (like Assange and/or Markey)?
    Doesn’t it make it a war crime and a crime against humanity to attack a (so-called “neutral”) UN facility?

  • vladimir says:

    @James. No, apparently to some people the war crime is defending the UN facility. Remember, we’re the ones who kill the innocent children (as if its so hard to come up with dozens of times the taliban do worse). Even if those innocent children happen to be 6 feet tall and holding AK-47s

  • Mark says:

    A bit shocking story, though the suicidal afghans are not rare

  • James says:

    KJ, thanks for the link.
    The opening line: “Four Taliban suicide bombers dressed as police and women . . . ” says it all about the depths (how low will they go) of their evil.
    If they were REAL soldiers they’d wear their uniforms to show it. But, they don’t have any uniforms so they must steal others legitimate uniforms, (or be cross-dressers and dress up as women) to hide from who they really are.
    It wouldn’t surprise me at all that they were doped up on heroine (by their handlers) just prior to the attack.
    I’m also curious as to their nationalities (that is, if they can be ascertained).
    Vladimir, please make some sense to your statement above. Are you saying it’s a war crime to “DEFEND” a UN facility? And, how can there be “innocent children . . . 6 feet tall and holding AK-47s”?

  • Matt says:

    Does anyone know if it was IDG Security that protected this UN compound? Guards were killed supposedly during the defense, but no UN staff were killed.

  • Lucas says:

    GOOD FOR THEM! I hope they realize this kind of strategy gets them nowhere, it doesn’t work, and they might as well just try to get along!

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @James: I don’t presume to speak for Vladimir but I sensed sarcasm and parody in his post.

  • Cordell says:

    Why hasn’t ISAF propaganda made more of an effort to publicize among Afghans that the Taliban and AQ militants were dressed as women — with the implication being that they are homosexuals? While homosexuality in U.S. ranks is increasingly less an issue these days, homosexuality among Muslim men carries an enormous stigma. Indeed, it’s blaspheme. Repeatedly painting the Taliban and AQ as homosexuals fighting in drag could greatly discourage their recruiting efforts among local males, discredit their cause and discourage these militants from hiding as women in the future.

  • Render says:

    Matt – Nothing yet. The unofficial UN statement says only that “many” guards were wounded. It does seem likely that it was IDG and their Gurkhas.
    You’re right (of course), they generally show very little originality in their tactics, even when those tactics don’t work. Tim had mentioned that a while ago.
    I called it video game tactics, they fight like they expect to respawn in 15 seconds, or will see the final score after they’ve been waxed.

  • vladimir says:

    @ArneFufkin: Oh, yeah, I was extremely sarcastic. I was just trying to point out the stupidity of calling our soldiers “baby killers” for doing their jobs.

  • James says:

    Vladimir and ArneFufkin, I apologize as I misinterpreted your original statement.


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