Taliban launch 4 suicide attacks in 3 provinces

The Taliban sent four suicide bombers to attack Afghan security services in the capital of Kabul and in the nearby provinces of Nangarhar and Logar today. Three of the suicide bombers targeted the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence service, in Kabul and Nangarhar; the other suicide bomber attacked a headquarters for the Afghan National Civil Order Police in Logar. Xinhua summarizes the four attacks:

In capital city of Kabul, Afghan security forces shot dead a would-be suicide bomber, foiling a potential terror attack in a busy diplomatic enclave. “The militant driving a four-wheel drive car crammed with explosive tried to target the entrance of a National Directorate of Security (NDS) office building in Shirpoor area,”deputy police chief Daud Amin told reporters near the site of the shooting.

The booby-trapped car later was safely defused by NDS and police bomb disposal squad, Amin said.

The incident took place at about 9:15 a.m. local time in Shirpoor where several foreign embassies and houses of high- ranking official are located.

Amin also denied earlier reports that two militants were involved in the attack, adding that no member of NDS or intelligence service or civilian were harmed in the shooting.

Earlier Sunday, one policeman was killed and one wounded when a suicide attacker rammed his explosive-laden minibus into the entrance of Afghan Civil Order Police compound in the eastern Logar province, some 60 km south of Kabul.

The bomber was killed right on the spot in the attack which occurred at Qala-i-Juma, an area in vicinity of provincial capital Pul-e-Alam at about 7 a.m. local time. “The blast martyred a policeman and damaged a number of civilian houses nearby but no civilian was hurt in the attack,” provincial police chief Abdul Saboor Nasrati told Xinhua.

In neighboring Nangarhar province, two NDS service members were killed and three were wounded when a car bomb hit a NDS agency building in provincial capital Jalalabad, a provincial police spokesman Hazrat Hossein Mashriqiwal told Xinhua.

Earlier in the morning, a policeman died when an attacker, who indented to target the district police headquarters in Baraki Barak district of Logar province, detonated his suicide jacket after being intercepted by police, according to Nasrati.

The National Directorate of Security has been a target of Taliban suicide bombers for the past three months. In early December 2012, the Taliban badly wounded Asadullah Khalid, the chief of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, as he was welcoming visitors at an NDS guesthouse in Kabul. Khalid is still attempting to recover from his injuries.

And in mid-January, the Taliban launched a suicide assault against the NDS headquarters in Kabul. 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.

The Taliban suicide attacks and assaults on the NDS aren’t very effective from a military standpoint (although taking out the NDS chief certainly is a coup). But from a psychological standpoint, the Taliban are communicating that they can target Afghanistan’s premier intelligence agency in the capital and beyond. And the Taliban continue to signal to the Afghan people that they will remain a force to be reckoned with long after US and NATO forces withdraw.

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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