Taliban suicide bomber kills 32 in Afghan north

The Taliban struck again with yet another major suicide attack inside Afghanistan, the eighth major attack in the country since the end of January. Today’s suicide attack killed 32 Afghans in the northern province of Kunduz, a stronghold of the Taliban and the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

A Taliban suicide bomber entered the provincial branch of the national statistics department in the district of Imam Sahib and detonated his vest in the middle of a crowd of Afghan civilians waiting for ID cards. Several women and children were killed in the blast; more than 40 Afghans were wounded, some critically.

The Taliban took credit for the deadly attack, claiming their suicide bomber targeted recruits attempting to join the Afghan Local Police, the local militias being formed to halt the Taliban advance throughout Afghanistan. Zabiullah Mujahid, a top Taliban spokesman, said that the suicide bomber was from the eastern province of Logar.

“He entered the recruitment and enrollment center of the Afghan government and foreigner-supported program called the Local Police and carried out a martyrdom attack,” Mujahid told The New York Times.

Afghan officials denied that the office was used to recruit soldiers or members of the Afghan Local police, and said the likely target was the governor of Kunduz province, who has an office next door to the national statistics department.

Today’s suicide attack is the latest mass-casualty attack carried out by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban have targeted Afghan police and soldiers, government officials, and anyone who works with the Afghan government [see list of attacks below].

In response to the Coalition and Afghan offensive in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, the Taliban have mounted a nationwide campaign of violence and intimidation. Taliban fighters have been told to “capture and kill any Afghan who is supporting and/or working for coalition forces” and the Afghan government, as well as “any Afghan women who are helping or providing information to coalition forces,” according to a directive issued by Mullah Omar in June 2010.

List of major attacks in Afghanistan since the end of January

Feb. 19, 2011

A Taliban suicide assault team attacked a group of Afghan police waiting in line at the Kabul Bank in the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar province, then stormed the bank and detonated their vests; 18 people were killed.

Feb. 18, 2011

A Taliban suicide bomber killed nine people, including women and children, in an attack on a police checkpoint in the eastern province of Khost.

Feb. 14, 2011

A suicide bomber detonated his vest at the entrance to a hotel in Kabul, killing two security guards.

Feb. 12, 2011

A suicide assault team attacked the provincial police headquarters in Kandahar City, killing 16 policemen and three civilians.

Feb. 10, 2011

A suicide bomber killed a district governor and six other Afghans in an attack in Kunduz.

Jan. 29, 2011

A suicide bomber killed Kandahar’s Deputy Governor, Abdul Latif, as he drove in a convoy from his home to his office.

Jan. 28, 2011

A suicide bomber opened fire on civilians and detonated a hand grenade before detonating his vest at the Finest grocery in the Afghan capital, killing eight civilians.

Jan. 7, 2011

A suicide attack at the Inland Customs Warehouse in Kandahar killed a retired US Customs and Border Protection officer and wounded three American customs workers.

Sources:

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

3 Comments

  • mike burk says:

    So why not show pictures of the dead women and children and use it to show the muslim world how wonderful the taliban are

  • OperatorStan says:

    You know gets me, and I’ve seen it too many times here? How the Taliban kill innocent women and children and claim it’s a “good thing” and make the homocide bomber a hero, but if the coalition accidentally kills a civilian as part of “collateral damage”, the coalition is the bad guys…Who is the bigger threat to the overall safety of the people of this country? NOT the coalition.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Here’s an optimistic assessment of current conditions and prospects for success in Afghanistan from a guy who is no Pollyanna in these matters:

    Retired General Jack Keane on His Recent visit to Afghanistan

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis