A Taliban suicide assault team penetrated security at the governor’s compound in Bazarak in Panjshir province in the early morning today. From Xinhua:
“Six militants armed with suicide vests and weapons stormed the provincial governor compound at around 3 a.m. local time in Bazarak city. The attack and counter-attack claimed the lives of all attackers and one policeman,” the provincial government spokesman Rohullah Yousufi told Xinhua.
Three attackers detonated their explosive jackets and three others were shot dead by police cops, the spokesman said.
The compound caught fire in the incident and several other building nearby were damaged, he said. The security forces also defused one car bomb at the scene as the militants failed to explode it.
Four policemen were wounded as a result of the attack, the spokesman noted, adding an investigation was launched into the incident.
According to AFP, the suicide assault team was wearing police uniforms when it attacked.
The Taliban took credit for today’s attack in Panjshir in a statement released on Voice of Jihad, its propaganda website. The Taliban claimed that “50 NATO-puppet troops” were killed, and named the members of the assault team:
The martyr operation ended at 8:30 after the last Mujahid of the unit of the six including Zia-ud-Din, Ahmad, Ammar, Muhammad Afzal, Muhammad Yasin and Syed Kamil embraced martyrdom.
While the attack wasn’t effective from a military standpoint (one policeman killed versus six suicide bombers), the propaganda effects are enormous. The Taliban and their allies are continuing to show the Afghan people that the group is capable of conducting strikes in all corners of Afghanistan.
Panjshir province is the most secure in Afghanistan; attacks there are a rarity. The jihadist alliance in Afghanistan has conducted just one suicide attack in Panjshir since the war began in 2001. That attack took place in October 2011, when another suicide assault team hit the US-run Provincial Reconstruction Team headquarters in the Rakha district. That attack was claimed by the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which released a video documenting the attack.
The province is the home of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the famed Northern Alliance commander who was assassinated in a suicide attack in Takhar province just two days prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Under Massoud’s leadership the Panjshir Valley held out against both the Soviets and the Taliban.
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