Taliban militants bungle coordinated multi-province terrorist attacks


Afghan security forces captured a would-be suicide bomber in Jalalabad City on July 1, 2013. Photo source: Parwiz/Reuters.

The Taliban failed to conduct a multi-province terrorist assault planned for today after Afghan security forces shot and killed a suicide bomber in Kabul City, and detained another would-be suicide bomber in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. Additionally, a separate would-be suicide bomber prematurely detonated in northern Kunduz province. The attacks were supposed to have occurred simultaneously along with a massive explosion in Parwan province that rocked the neighborhood near the governor’s compound in Charikar City.

“Explosive placed in a car was detonated near the governor office building in Charikar City at around 10 am local time Monday,” a provincial official told China’s Xinhua anonymously.

The Parwan blast was reportedly caused by a “magnetic bomb” attached by suspected militants to a fuel tanker. Three civilians were injured in the bombing, and there were no further reports of fatalities, a spokeswoman for the provincial governor told ToloNews. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

In today’s abortive attack in Kunduz province, a Taliban suicide bomber was killed when the explosives-packed vest he was wearing detonated prematurely. No security forces or civilians were injured in the blast, which occurred in the restive Dasht-e-Archi district, according to district chief Sheikh Sadruddin, who spoke with Xinuha. [For recent security developments in Dasht-e-Archi, see Threat Matrix report, Taliban shadow district governor killed in Afghan security operation.]

Afghan security forces thwart additional attacks

At around 7 a.m. local time in Kabul City, security guards at the Afghan National Directorate of Security shot and killed a suicide bomber in Sedarat Square, an area near the NDS national headquarters. The attacker was reportedly wearing an Afghan security forces uniform but was detected and engaged before he could gain access to the NDS headquarters, according to Khaama Press.

Today’s failed attack against the NDS headquarters in Kabul comes one week after Taliban militants nearly succeed in an audacious assault plan against the CIA headquarters and Afghan Presidential palace. [See Long War Journal report, Taliban launch suicide assault on Presidential palace, CIA HQ in Kabul.]

Following a brief shootout in Jalalabad City in Nangarhar province this morning, NDS operatives detained a Pakistani national wearing an explosive vest. An NDS statement on the incident was made available to Khaama Press, which noted that the detained suicide bomber, Safiullah a.k.a. Shamsullah, was a resident of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. The NDS said that Safiullah had been planning to carry out an attack in Jalalabad City but was injured during clashes with Afghan security forces earlier this morning and detained.

A series of photos of Safiullah’s capture were made public, including those showing a sapper disarming the suicide vest still strapped to Safiullah’s chest after the shootout.

Since late May, the Taliban and their allies, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, have stepped up suicide operations against the Coalition, nongovernmental organizations, and Afghan institutions. There have been 10 high-profile suicide attacks in Afghanistan since May 23.

A portion of today’s attacks were prevented by Afghan security forces, especially those belonging to the NDS. For previous coverage of successful NDS operations, see the following Long War Journal and Threat Matrix reports:

  • Afghan intelligence thwarts major attack against Kandahar City, May 26, 2013
  • 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:

      good info by LWJ. Good work by the Afghans. The guy in the picture has the bloated look of a dope fiend

    • EDDIED. says:

      The goof ball captured and laying on the ground looks like he blowed himself up earlier. Take him out to an open area and complete his mission for him.
      Good catch.

    • Habib Malgeri says:

      Thanks for good information friends, What I know about Jalalabad incident is also worth to share.
      After receiving information about the identity of a man suspected of planning to carry out a suicide attack, ANSF (NDS, ANA, and ANP) approached him whilst he was walking through the Farmi Hada area of Bihsud district (located just out skirt of the Jalalabad City), reportedly he was singled out by a motorcycle rider and instructed him to surrender. He responded by attacking the assembled ANSF personnel with Small arm fire using his handed AK-47 rifle, who returned fire, injuring him; he was then arrested.
      It remains unclear whether the man was en route to his intended target when he was arrested and if so, what it was?
      It is therefore possible that the individual at the center of the title incident was part of a cell and on his way to a staging ground ahead of a larger attack or that his intended target was not in Bihsud, but elsewhere, including in nearby Jalalabad, which has already seen three suicide attacks so far this year and where suicide attacks involving lone operatives are less unusual (the most recent of which was against an NDS vehicle on 4 March 2012). These points aside, it seems likely that the attack would have ultimately been directed against either the security forces or the GOA. The incident is thus indicative of the undiminished intention and capability of AOG elements to plan such operations, which beyond their immediate physical impact, are designed to negatively influence popular perceptions of the ability of the GOA to maintain security.


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