The Taliban claimed credit for a suicide attack today at a market in a secure area of Kabul that is known to be frequented by foreigners.
A Taliban suicide bomber exchanged gunfire with Afghan police and appears to have detonated a hand grenade before detonating his vest at the Finest grocery in the Afghan capital. Eight people, including three foreigners, were killed and six more were wounded in the blast.
The supermarket is located in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood of Kabul, a high security area of the city where many embassies and hotels are situated.
The Taliban’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that foreigners, including the chief of Xe, the security firm formerly known as Blackwater, were the targets of the attack, The Washington Post reported.
“We claim responsibility for the attack, and it was carried out at a time when foreigners were shopping, including the head of a security company,” Mujahid told Reuters.
Today’s suicide attack was likely carried out by the Kabul Attack Network, which is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well. The network’s tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Ghazni, and Zabul, a US intelligence official recently told The Long War Journal.
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.
ISAF and Afghan forces have been targeting the Kabul Attack Network since the spring of 2010 in an attempt to prevent high-profile attacks in the capital. The Taliban are seeking to create the appearance of instability and shut down the operations of foreign companies operating in the capital, a US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. The attacks also allow the Taliban to show they can reach into the heart of Afghanistan despite ongoing security operations in the Taliban heartlands of the south.
Counting today’s bombing, four Taliban suicide attacks have been carried out in Kabul since operations against the Kabul Attack Network intensified last year. On July 18, 2010, a suicide bomber killed four civilians at a medical clinic; on Aug. 10, a suicide assault team killed two security guards outside a guest house used by foreigners; and on Dec. 19, suicide bombers killed five soldiers outside a recruiting facility.
Last year’s suicide attacks were far less deadly than attacks in previous years, however, which included the January 2008 suicide assault on the Serena hotel, the February 2009 assault on Afghan ministries, and the July 2008 and October 2009 suicide attacks against the Indian embassy.
Suicide Bomber Targets Supermarket in Kabul, TOLOnews
Kabul supermarket hit by deadly suicide attack – police, BBC
Explosion in Kabul diplomatic district kills at least 8, injures 6, The Washington Post
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The Taliban may have struck within an area that was secured a few months back, but they also killed a
CHILD. That’s right, they killed a child who had no “blame” at all.
The Taliban are losing their grip, but due to the size of the country and larger numbers of Taliban, plus their deep-rooted existence in Afghanistan for the last 15 years, it will take longer to damage them to the point where they are as weak as the Islamic State of Iraq is today.
As far as I know, there have been no appointments to replaced the two “emirs” killed in April 2010 by Iraqi and American security forces. That blow effectively reduced them to liquid and mush as far as a terror organization goes.
“Taliban fails again”, I agree with you that they are quite pathetic killing children, but they do not have remorse and the ends justify the means in their view.
Not all Taliban are dedicated religious fanatics, and there are many “Taliban” groups roaming around in that country. But with the Salafist material I have read, and Al Qaeda sympathizers I have spoken with, these types of actions are completely justified as everyone living in Kabul are under “American protection”, so therefore they are a legitimate target.
I can never get a clear answer from them on how this is justified, and if they could go further into detail. Beyond what I said above they usually just begin typing in ALL CAPS jihadi slogans and start inciting others to commit violence.
I’ll never understand these types of actions and I’ll never understand why some people view them as justified, even, as you said, if it kills children, pregnant women, fathers, teachers, etc.
This is the enemy we are facing and it is not for the weak at heart.
What just alarms me is how easy it is to jump “sects”/groups in Islam (speaking from experience).
To go from being a devout Salafist to being a hardcore Salafi-Jihadi is not that difficult if you are “connected”.
What is even more suprising, just from my own view, is the increasing mixing of people who used or are still in Jamaat ut-Tabligh circles, and people who are already devout Salafi Jihadis. Personally, I think this is because of the emphasis on “feesabeelilah”, despite a traditionally diverging interpretation of what that means for Tablighis and Salafi-Jihadis.
This is the real danger, because the only thing giving people an ideological alternative that intellectually immunizes them against the spread of radical Islam, is democracy. And notice how democracy is so heavily attacked by leading Islamists and Jihadis, such as Maqdisi et al.
Just my two cents.
That’s why when I heard the word “revolution” pertaining to the Arab world it somewhat worries me. It is very easy for what I call Internet Ummahists to hijack the movements and mislead the society into believe that hardcore fundamentalist Islamism is what they need and will be “democratic” for them.
Only true democracy can cure the middle east.
As for the different circles, well it’s a good thing for us that most of them are made up of small contingents that follow their leader and schools of thought like a brainwashed cult. Educating Muslims in a moderate way and reversing the tide of despotic ideologies should have been one of our key goals after 9/11, and while I will say that we DID do that, and a fantastic job at that, it’s still, unfortunately, not enough yet.
When I mean that I hope radicalism will “fizzle out”, I mean that hopefully one day all different types of Muslim sects (there are thousands) and peoples will agree that education and peace is the true way forward.
As a counter-propaganda measure, it might prove interesting to track the Taliban’s attacks in terms of civilians, contract combatants, and NATO/US military killed.
I think the contrast in target discrimination would go a long way towards demonstrating how little the Taliban care about civilians caught in the cross-fire. This would also counter the trend recently by the mainstream media to talk about numbers killed, as though we are somehow responsible for people killed by the thugs on the other side.
PBS’ Frontline interview with Amrullah Saleh (the former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence service) provides some additional information on Taj Mir from the Kabul Attack Network:
Is there any significance to the fact that they were able to target the attack at the head of Xe security while he was out and about? To me, that speaks to the sophistication of their operational planning and intelligence gathering abilities. It also makes me wonder what is going on with Xe security. Those guys bill themselves as some of the best in the business. I would think that they would have better counter-intelligence capabilities.
Are any heads going to roll over at Xe for letting the boss get so close to getting taken out?
David, I believe ‘XE Services’ is just another name for Blackwater; a company I might add (whether justifiably or not) that has garnered itself a very bad, bad, reputation among (at least) the Muslim world.
Based on that, you should see why the Taliban would want to target such an employee since that they would know by doing so they would appear (falsely so) as the “saviors” of the “oppressed” Muslim/Afghan people.
James, I agree with most of your comment but I believe it is somewhat misleading. Blackwater has only a bad reputation amongst Iraqis and Muslim militants who have access to the Internet to spread their vitriol.
I’m not saying they have not done horrible things, they have – but the Taliban taking out the head of Xe would not make a noticable difference to Afghans. The only difference it would make is the more aggressive militant types who go online would notice this and perhaps be proud of it, but it would not really be that much of a “PR” boost for the Taliban if you will.