Taliban suicide bomber penetrates security at Ministry of Defense in Kabul

A Taliban suicide bomber penetrated security at the Afghan Ministry of Defense in Kabul today, killing two Afghan soldiers and wounding several aides to top Afghan officials in a gunfight before he was able to detonate his vest. The suicide bombing is the ninth such attack in Afghanistan in the past five days.

The suicide bomber, who was wearing an Afghan Army uniform and carried military identification papers, was able to get past several layers of security and enter the main building of the Ministry of Defense in the Afghan capital. Al Jazeera and other outlets claimed that three suicide bombers were involved in the attack, but the reports have not been confirmed.

The bomber reached the third floor of the Ministry of Defense and came close to the Afghan defense minister’s inner circle. He was stopped by Afghan soldiers and then opened fire, killing two troops. According to reports, an and a bodyguard to the defense minister, and the secretary of the Army Chief of Staff were among the seven people wounded in the attack.

The Taliban claimed credit for the attack in a statement released on their website, Voice of Jihad. The Taliban said the failed suicide bomber was named Asadullah and was a “resident of Panjshir who had been in the puppet army for the last three years.”

According to the Taliban, the suicide bomber targeted senior Afghan, US, and French military officers and officials, including France’s Defense Minister. The Taliban claimed that 18 people were killed in the attack, including “4 key foreign top-level figures were killed and 22 more were severely injured.” The Taliban wildly inflate casualties in their press releases on a daily basis.

The Taliban have stepped up their suicide campaign in Afghanistan over the past week. The Afghan security personnel have been hit hardest as the Taliban seek to break the will of the nascent forces.

Today’s attack is the fourth that has targeted Afghan and international forces at bases throughout the country in the past five days. Two of the attacks were carried out by Taliban members who infiltrated the Afghan security forces. On April 16, an Afghan soldier detonated a suicide vest during a meeting inside a training facility in Laghman province, killing five ISAF and four Afghan soldiers. ISAF has confirmed that the suicide bomber was indeed an Afghan soldier.

On April 15, a Taliban suicide bomber from the Mullah Dadullah Mahaz, or Mullah Dadullah Front, assassinated the chief of police for Kandahar province and killed two of his bodyguards. The suicide bomber was dressed as a policeman and detonated after hugging the police chief in his office.

And on April 14, a Taliban suicide assault team killed three policemen in an attack at a training facility in Paktia.

The Taliban have also targeted police, government officials, civilians, and pro-government tribal leaders in five other attacks during the same time period. On April 14, three people were wounded in a suicide attack outside a government building in Kabul; and another was wounded in an attack that targeted police in Kandahar. And on April 13, the Taliban carried out three suicide attacks. The largest attack occurred in Kunar province, when a suicide bomber killed an influential pro-government tribal leader and warlord, along with nine other Afghans. In addition, 13 Afghans were wounded in suicide attacks in Kandahar and Kapisa.

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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  • Gary Nairn says:

    Seems to be a completely ineffective attack with a higher level of planning. Gone is the van load of explosives and four guys with guns. Enter the lone solder with fake ID. Similar result, death of the attacker and no real (sorry for the two that were shot) damage to the base. I

  • jean says:

    So is this their

  • blert says:

    Obviously, they’re getting terrific intel WRT beating the checkpoints.
    Paperwork is not going to cut it: too many Afghanis can’t read or write.
    More sniffers and metal detectors are needed…
    Plus a layered defense similar to what Stalin and Hitler used. Those despots had more assassination attempts than just about anyone I’ve read of.

  • DL says:

    I was wondering the same thing. Here’s to hoping that ISAF’s work has paid off and the assassinations are the best they can manage (for the most part).

  • jayc says:

    Clever attack. Give credit where credit is due. This could have been a lot worse. Someone in the Taliban “politburo” has figured out how to; a) use a sleeper to good effect, b) “turn” an Afghan soldier, c) get past security wearing a suicide vest while having official papers and uniform. The suggestion of metal detectors and dogs is a good one against this threat.

  • David says:

    At least at this rate they will be out of suicide bombers by May. I don’t know as much about Afghanistan as Iraq, but I would think the locals would not take well to “working dogs.” Am I incorrect in this? Also, would metal detectors get enough maintenance and parts to survive without US help? Maybe a good old-fashioned pat-down would be best?

  • Soccer says:

    Gary, I have a question, who is “Terry”?
    Do you mean the Taliban? They always lie about attacks, it’s second nature to them.

  • Gary Nairn says:

    Hi, Scoccer, yes “Terry” is the Taliban. It’s British slang, “Terry the terrible Taliban”, good name to frighten the kids. They are always going to be looking for holes and new angels in the defence. But even with illiterate guards, someone rumbled him and he was taken down before he could trigger his vest. Not a perfect ending but not a disaster either.

  • b-rock says:

    who knows how many more double agent wanna be martyrs the is in the afghani police/army. how bout going to the sorce for once instead of puttin so many resorces into security, and having so much fear and tension where the innocent suffer and there loved ones are
    ripe for revenge. All or nothing

  • mike says:

    I have a silly question which I hope someone can answer – if we are constantly reminded how sensitive the US needs to be in the Afgan culture because of how it basically mandates revenge against those who hurt their tribe/family etc., why are we not told of/hear more about Afgan tribes/families joining up to take revenge on the Taliban when so many civilians and other Afgans are being killed? at this point, wouldnt the vast majority of Afgans who have suffered at the hands of the Taliban thru previous persecutions or outright violence far outweigh any popular support?
    It just seems so hypocritical and a bit false

  • Mr T says:

    The article says he killed 2 people and wounded several others in a gunfight before detonating his vest. That doesn’t sound ineffective to me.
    We get patted down at airports nowadays and go through full body scanners just to go see Aunt Gladys and Grandma Martha but someone can just show id and walk into the Defence ministry with loaded weapons and a strap on bomb?

  • b-rock says:

    mr.t- 3 years can gain a lot of trust and probably a pretty high rank in an army/police force desperate for recruits. It’s no wonder why they didn’t release his rank in press statement. i just fear for the people who are doin the right thing how many more nutjobs the talibs have put in place.
    higher ups should beware those hugs.
    By the way, Bill ur the man.

  • XT says:

    I worked in the bldg attacked recently and it is relatively easy to bluff your way through security until you get to the floor and office in question. This is where the fighting probably took place. It is difficult for Westerners to judge whether the Afghans are really being serious about security since we are obviously part of the foreigners and not looked at closely and while Afghan Military do not pat down “their own” they seem to go about as if they are all supposed to be there inviting a more relaxed security posture.


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