Suicide bomber hits police station in Afghan south

The Taliban have claimed credit for a suicide car bomb attack that hit a police headquarters today in the city of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand in the Afghan south.

The suicide bomber detonated his sports utility vehicle, which was packed with explosives, at the main gate of a police station in the southern city. Ten policemen and a child were killed in the blast, and another 10 Afghans were wounded, according to Pajhwok Afghan News.

In a statement released on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, the Taliban took responsibility for the suicide attack. The Taliban claimed that Muhammad Gul, a “resident of Nad Ali district” in Helmand, carried out the suicide attack. The Taliban also claimed that 40 “puppets,” a term used to describe Afghans working for the government, were killed, and that two police pickup trucks and a “tank” were also destroyed. On a daily basis, the Taliban wildly inflate the number of Afghans and members of the Coalition forces killed in their operations.

The suicide attack in Lashkar Gah was likely carried out by the Mullah Dadullah Mahaz, or the Mullah Dadullah Front, a radical Taliban subgroup based in the south that is closely linked to al Qaeda. The Mullah Dadullah Front has adopted al Qaeda’s tactics and ideology, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in December 2010. The Taliban faction is led by Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee who has since been promoted as the Taliban’s top military commander and co-leader of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura. The terror group has executed numerous high-profile suicide attacks and assaults as well as assassinations in the southern Afghan provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, and Uruzgan.

Today’s suicide attack follows a deadly IED attack and ambush by the Taliban in Helmand on July 29 that killed 17 Afghan civilians. The Taliban destroyed a bus as it traveled from the district of Nahr-e-Saraj to Lashkar Gah, then ambushed the rescue team that was attempting to recover the dead and wounded.

As US and NATO forces begin their drawdown in Afghanistan, Afghan forces are increasingly being placed on the front lines to provide security in Afghan hotspots. Lashkar Gah is among the five cities and two provinces that have recently undergone the transfer of security responsibility from Coalition to Afghan forces [see LWJ report, Karzai announces July transfer of responsibility from ISAF to Afghan National Security Forces].

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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