Taliban suicide assault team attacks Afghan intelligence headquarters in Kabul

The Taliban claimed credit for today’s suicide assault on the main headquarters of the Afghan National Directorate of Security in the capital of Kabul.

A suicide assault team made up of six heavily armed Taliban fighters was repelled by NDS guards as the team attempted to breach the main gate and storm the headquarters. The Taliban opened the attack by detonating a suicide truck bomb at the main gate of the NDS headquarters, in an effort to pave the way for the five remaining fighters to enter the compound.

NDS security guards opened fire on the Taliban assault team after the fighters entered the compound, killing all five. One NDS guard was also killed during the fighting; 33 civilians and security personnel were wounded in the blast and resulting gunfight.

All of the Taliban fighters were “equipped with suicide vests, explosives, Kalashnikovs [AK-47 assault rifles,” according to Pajhwok Afghan News. Additionally, “water jell explosives were used for the first time-ever in a bomb attack in the country,” an NDS official said, without providing further details on the explosives. Security forces also found another car bomb that was not detonated.

In a statement released on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, the Taliban claimed the attack, and said they would provide further details.

“Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate conducted a martyrdom attack on the main local spy agency in the center of Kabul city today at about 12:00 p.m. inflicting the enemy fatal losses,” the statement said. “The attack comes as a large number of the invading ISAF advisers came to the agency.”

No International Security Assistance Force personnel are reported to have been killed or wounded in the attack.

Today’s suicide assault is the second against the NDS in Kabul in the past two months. On Dec. 6, a suicide bomber seriously wounded NDS chief Asadullah Khalid as he was welcoming visitors at an NDS guesthouse in Kabul.

Today’s attack took place in a high-security area of Kabul. Over the years, the Taliban have been able to penetrate sensitive areas of the capital to launch suicide bombings and assaults against Afghan ministries, ISAF headquarters, the US Embassy, hotels, and other targets.

The Taliban have also executed multiple suicide assaults against major ISAF bases outside of Kabul. The most successful attack against a major base took place on Sept. 14, 2012, when a suicide assault team attacked Camp Bastion in Helmand province. The 15-man Taliban team penetrated the perimeter at the airbase, destroyed six USMC Harriers and damaged two more, and killed the squadron commander and a sergeant. In the course of the assault, 14 of the 15 members of the assault team were killed, while the last was wounded and captured. Camp Bastion is a sprawling military base shared by US Marines and British troops that is located in the middle of the Dashti Margo desert in Helmand province.

Today’s attack takes place as the Afghan government claims it is making progress on negotiations with the Taliban. But the Taliban have insisted that all foreign forces withdraw from the country before any agreement can be reached. Additionally, the Taliban have refused to denounce their ally, al Qaeda.

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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