Suicide bomber kills Afghan MP, 22 others at wedding

A suicide bomber killed 23 people, including a prominent Afghan member of parliament, the western zone police commander, a provincial intelligence chief, and several senior Afghan officials, in an attack at a wedding in the northern province of Samangan today. The attack was very likely carried out by the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a wedding hall in Aybak, the provincial capital of Samangan. The wedding was for the daughter of Ahmad Khan Samangani, a Member of Parliament and mujahideen commander who fought the Soviets during the 1980s. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives as the wedding party was receiving guests.

Among those killed were Samangani; Syed Ahmad Sami, the commander of police forces in Afghanistan’s western zone; Khan Mohamad, the chief of the National Directorate of Security in Samangan; and Zalmai Younisi, a leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami. Also reported killed were the former governor of Samangan, a senator, and another member of parliament; their deaths have not been confirmed, however. Samangani’s daughter and her husband survived the attack. More than 60 of the estimated 100 wedding guests were wounded.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack, and instead put the blame on political rivals. Samangani, an ethnic Uzbek, was a political opponent of General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a powerful Uzbek warlord in the Afghan north.

“We don’t have a hand in this issue,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told Reuters. “Ahmad Khan was a former commander of the mujahideen, he was notorious and many people could have had problems with him.”

“Samangani had personal enmity. It’s not yet clear whether it was a suicide attack or a blast,” Mujahid told Pajhwok Afghan News.

However the attack was very likely carried out by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked terror group that has integrated its leadership and operations with the Taliban in the Afghan north.

The IMU is known to have a presence in Samangan province. In March 2011, the International Security Assistance Force said the terror group ran “multiple IMU training camps” in the province as well as in neighboring Sar-i-Pul. ISAF captured the IMU’s leader of the camps, and killed two senior IMU commanders in March 2011.

The IMU has claimed credit for several suicide attacks in the north, including the November 2011 assault on a US Provincial Reconstruction Team in the peaceful province of Panjshir. At the end of November 2011, the IMU claimed that 87 of its members were killed during operations in Afghanistan; many of those killed died in suicide attacks. The IMU commanders and fighters listed as “martyred” were from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Germany, and Russia.

The IMU has carried out similar suicide operations that have killed top Afghan officials in the north. In October 2010, a suicide bomber killed Governor Muhammad Omar as he worshiped in a mosque in neighboring Takhar province. Omar had been vocal in his opposition to the Taliban, and had consistently warned of the spread of the Taliban and allied terror groups in the Afghan north.

In March 2011, a suicide bomber killed General Abdul Rahman Sayedkhili, the provincial chief of police for Kunduz in Kunduz city.

In May 2011, a suicide bomber assassinated General Daud, the top police commander in the north, as he was meeting with ISAF’s commander for the north. The ISAF general was wounded in the attack.

And in December 2011, a suicide bomber killed 20 Afghan civilians, including Abdul Mutalib Baig, a member of parliament and former provincial police commander, in an attack at a funeral in the northern province of Takhar.

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.

Tags: , ,


  • LAL1859 says:

    Here we see AQ and their allies seeking both
    1) to use the old British tactic of divide and conquor” of trying to pit one group against another by sewing suspicion among allies – here by trying to shift blame for one of their affiliates attacks to General Dostum and
    2) their continued “decapitation” strategy of murdering and assassinating anyone whose leadership could rally war-torn people against their subversion and encroachment.
    Stalin used the same tactic. The murder of a respect Mujahideen fighter – a true Holy Warrior against a foreign invader – betrays their political rather than religious agenda.
    As was seen in Bosnia, and in Columbia, we now see an insurgent group seeking to eliminate any opposition to their effort to control narcotics trafficking routes.
    The continued murder of true Mujahideen show they really don’t care about religion other than to incite their ill-educated and hateful allies to do their bidding and advance the “business” interests of organized criminals of Pashtun and Pakistani origin.

  • sundoesntrise says:

    Take this along with the story of the suicide bombing at the Nigerian Mosque, and it seems that tis’ the season for Muslims to kill Muslims!

  • Max says:

    Just think of the reaction on the evening news if this had happened in the United States or in western Europe, even. There would be public denunciations, protests, hand-wringing over terrorism etc for weeks, if not months.
    But if muslims do it to muslims, “hey no big deal”, it seems. What a strange, evil country and population. Obviously, not all muslims think this is acceptable, but it seems far too many have no problem with it, especially in Pakistan.

  • Charu says:

    Since the Taliban leadership are secure inside Pakistan, they are emboldened to send out suicide assassins to take out their opponents, knowing full well that their enemies will not resort in kind. Bin Laden and AQ used this tactic just before 9-11 to take out Ahmed Shah Masood. The only real equalizer in this assymetric terror warfare are drones, and they are held back to the border regions and not where the Haqqanis and the Mullah Omars hide out inside Pakistan. The Pakistanis realize this, which is why they are so deeply against the drone attacks. After Abbottabad they fear that it could be a matter of time before the drones start striking into their heartland, which is why they have raised the stakes with NATO’s road access through Pakistan.
    I vision that, like in the climax of the Godfather movies, a day will come when this supply access becomes no longer necessary for NATO and the drones will dance all over terroristan during the day of reckoning.

  • Hektor says:

    This is consistent with current TB strategy. They took a BIG black eye back in 2011 at the Jalalabad Bank massacre. Ever since they’ve distanced themselves from any large-scale CIVCAS incidents. Even, I may suggest, those they actually perpetrated. The effect is the same…to sow the seeds of fear and insecurity in the general population. The TB wants to:
    1. Delegitimize the Afghan govt by showing it can’t protect the people.
    2. Make decapitation strikes on senior govt officials, making people reluctant to serve.
    3. Conserve its own manpower for later…they’ve really taken some hard knocks the past year from joint Coalition/ANSF operations, especially night SOF ops.
    They don’t need to claim credit to attain these objectives. Nor do the people think the TB weren’t involved, just because they say they weren’t involved. The IMU, Haqqani, and TB are all working together these days and no doubt TB was somewhere in the mix, even if it was an IMU hit.

  • Max says:

    The problem I see with this Taliban strategy, Hektor, is that Al-queda in Iraq tried the same thing, and it failed because it sowed the seeds of their own destruction by driving the people away from them. Without the support of the general population, no insurgency can win in the long term.

  • Mad Hatter says:

    One thing i’ve learned is do not compare Iraq and Afghanistan on any leve. The media does it nightly, and it’s two completely different animals in all aspects.
    I do agree with you though, thta AQI distanced itself from the people by killing civilians. Zarqawi, and al-Masri were animals.
    When you have Pakistan supporting (directly and indirectly) numerous factions that want to see Afghanistan fail. You don’t need poeple to back you. You have unlimited funding, weapons, and support from the Gov and it’s shadow ops (ISI) right next door.
    Mad Hatter – also in K, A.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram