Afghan intelligence thwarts major attack against Kandahar City


Afghan Border Police (ABP) members count anti-personnel mines discovered during an inspection of a tractor-trailer combination vehicle at an ABP checkpoint near the Wesh border crossing point, Spin Boldak district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Dec. 18, 2012. More than 360 mines where discovered in a hidden compartment of the trailer. Tractors are being increasingly used for hauling heavy loads of explosives, or are rigged with explosives for use in terror attacks, as highlighted by the recent interception of a tractor-borne IED in Daman district, Kandahar province. (Photo courtesy of the 4th Kandak, 3rd Zone Afghan Border Police).

Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) forces, following weeks of surveillance, intercepted a tractor laden with explosives in the Daman district of Kandahar province on May 25. NDS personnel killed the driver of the tractor and prevented an attack they believed was aimed at Kandahar City, according to a press statement issued by the Kandahar Media Information Center (KMIC). Officials from the KMIC further added that the tractor was seized in the village of Nawi Dah, and Afghan authorities were trying to identify the slain driver of the tractor.

The late night operation by NDS forces prevented what authorities believed would have been another attack similar to the dual car bombing of the gated Aino Meena community, located in eastern Kandahar City, on May 19. That attack killed at least nine people and wounded more than 60 others, mostly civilians, according to the BBC.

Tractors have long been used by Afghan insurgents to transport explosives, and along with motorized rickshaws, are occasionally used as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). On Dec. 18, 2012 , Afghan Border Police (ABP) forces seized more than 360 anti-personnel landmines during a routine vehicle inspection near the Wesh border crossing point in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province. The police force discovered the mines while inspecting a tractor towing a trailer; the mines were hidden in a storage compartment inside the trailer.

On March 21, 2011, Afghan National Security Forces intercepted a tractor and trailer passing through Sayad Abad district in Wardak province that was filled with bomb-making materials, including 10 suicide vests, 17 spools of detonation cord, 30 cell phones, and over 272 kilograms of explosive chemicals. Similarly, on March 19, 2011, Afghan police forces intercepted a tractor pulling a trailer rigged with explosives and mortar shells on the outskirts of Jalalabad City. The trailer’s explosives were wired to be detonated via remote control.

Infamously, a six-man Taliban assault team attempted to penetrate the perimeter of the sprawling Kandahar Airbase in August 2010, in part by using a farm tractor rigged with explosives.

ABP_ Op_Eagle_Storm.jpg

Tractors have long been used by Afghan insurgents to transport explosives, and are occasionally used as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. Pvts. Mohammad Qasim and Sayed Khan, assigned to 4th Tolai, 2nd Kandak, Helmand ABP, search a tractor trailer while on a security patrol with US Marines from Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, during Operation Shahem Tofan (Eagle Storm) in Helmand province, Feb. 13, 2012. (Photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder).

For previous coverage of NDS operations, see the following Long War Journal and Threat Matrix reports:

  • Afghan forces thwart unprecedented terror plot in Kabul, Mar. 16, 2013
  • Afghan intelligence thwarts terror plots in Kabul, Logar, and Parwan, Aug. 31, 2012
  • Afghan intelligence thwarts complex assault plot in Kabul; Pakistani suspect, 4 others arrested, Aug. 12, 2012
  • Afghan intel kills 5 members of Haqqani Network suicide cell in Kabul, Aug. 2, 2012
  • Afghan intelligence thwarts 3rd major terror plot in Kabul, May 3, 2012
  • Afghan intelligence seizes 11 tons of explosives, thwarts additional terror plots, April 21, 2012
  • Afghan intelligence captures 3 members of northern assassination cell, Feb. 7, 2012
  • Afghan intelligence operations take on significant role, Sept. 21, 2011
  • Afghan NDS continues crackdown on counterfeit uniforms, Sept. 5, 2011
  • Haqqani Network directed Kabul hotel assault by phone from Pakistan, Sept. 3, 2011
  • NDS dismantles Kabul Attack Network cell, Aug. 28, 2011
  • Elite Afghan force destroys insurgent explosives cache, Aug. 22, 2011
  • NDS smashes Haqqani Network plots in Kabul, July 31, 2011
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    • mike merlo says:

      NDS should have ‘surreptitiously’ sent the ‘tractor trailer’ back to Quetta & remotely detonated ‘it’ there. If not the aforementioned hopefully NDS is creative enough to plant these same ‘bombs’ is areas frequented or traversed by their adversaries.

    • Alex says:

      Um…maybe a dumb question but is that really safe handling for all that UXO in the first picture?
      Good find though by the Afghans.


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