The Taliban claimed credit for a suicide attack at a hospital on Kabul that is frequented by military and police personnel.
This afternoon, the suicide bomber detonated in a cafeteria as medical students were eating lunch, killing six and wounding 36. The Taliban claimed it carried out the attack, and said two suicide bombers were sent to attack the hospital. Security forces have surrounded the hospital and are searching for the second suicide bomber.
The attack took place in a high-security area of Kabul. The hospital is close to the US and other foreign embassies, and to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health.
The attack was likely executed by the Kabul Attack Network, which is tasked with hitting the Afghan government and Coalition forces in and around the capital, and was formed with the help of Siraj Haqqani. The network is made up of members from the Haqqani Network, Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and al Qaeda. A Haqqani Network commander known as Daud, or Dawood, co-leads the Kabul Attack Network along with a Taliban commander known as Taj Mir Jawad.
The Taliban’s last major attack in Kabul took place on April 2, when a suicide assault team attempted to storm Camp Phoenix, a NATO base. The suicide bombers were defeated by US troops guarding the perimeter.
Today’s attack caps a week of deadly attacks by the Taliban in their so-called Badar, or spring offensive. Major Taliban attacks this week include an ambush that killed 35 road workers and guards in Paktika; a suicide attack that killed 13 people in Nangarhar; and an IED attack that killed four ISAF troops in the south.
In its announcement of the Badar offensive, the Taliban said the primary targets would be “foreign invading forces, members of their spy networks and (other) spies, high-ranking officials of the Kabul Puppet Administration, both military and civilian, members of the cabinet, members of the parliament, Heads of foreign and local companies working for the enemy and contractors.” The Afghan High Peace Council was also singled out.
The Taliban said Badar would focus on “military centers, places of gatherings, airbases, ammunition and logistical military convoys of the foreign invaders in all parts of the country.” Their tactics would include “group and martyrdom seeking attacks,” or suicide attacks and assaults; “group offensives,” or massed assaults; “city attacks,” ambushes, and IED attacks.
The Taliban also said that “strict attention must be paid to the protection and safety of civilians during the spring operations by working out a meticulous military plan.”
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Look who showed up at the CSM! Our very own.
“…Mr. Shahzad was able to go for training and come back undetected, says Bill Roggio, who runs the Long War Journal website.”
Targeting medical students? Now, that’s a really intelligent and impressive action taken by the Taliban. Their intelligence continues to amaze me.
They claim not to be targeting civilians, then attack a construction company on Thursday?
The rest of their recent attacks have been on military or related targets, though. Does this point to a disagreement about acceptable targets within the organisation? Was it an anomaly? Are they referring only to innocent bystanders? Or are they just lying to try to get more fence sitters on their side?
The Taliban also said they’d attack “collaborators” and the like. Which seems to mean whoever is working to make Afghanistan a better place (road workers, medical staff, etc).
They have a flexible definition of “civilian”. Unlike ISAF and the US.
Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.
This is him, by the way. A picture has finally been released of him:
He looks like one serious dude,