Taliban launch suicide attacks in Kabul, Kunar, and Kunduz

The Taliban have claimed credit for three suicide assaults and attacks that took place today in the capital of Kabul as well as in Kunduz and the remote northeastern province of Kunar.

In Kabul, a five-man suicide assault team attacked the regional Independent Election Commission office, which is “situated near a presidential candidate’s home and Afghan National Army recruitment center,” according to TOLONews:

The incident took place in the Darul Aman area of Kabul, when two of the attackers detonated their explosives at the entrance of the IEC office, opening the way for three other attackers, said the Ministry of Interior Affairs Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

“Two police were killed when the attackers detonated their explosives,” said Sediqqi. “One provincial election council candidate and two employees of the office were also killed in the attack.”

Two of the three attackers who stormed the building after the intial blasts were killed quickly by security forces. The final one was killed more than four hours later on the third floor of the IEC building.

The Taliban claimed credit for the Kabul attack on their website, Voice of Jihad, and provided the following description of the attack:

The operation initiated with Abdur Razaq Qais hailing from Kandahar province detonating his explosive vest that blew to pieces all the security barriers, enabling the two martyr attackers of the team of three Mujahideen, Mula Abdul Majeed from Zabul, and Mula Habibullah from Kandahar, equipped with heavy and light arms to get into the building and began launching operation within the facility.

Shortly afterwards, Mula Habibullah Waqar, with explosive-vest approached the office of the head of election commission where the head and others electoral officers were present and conducted a second detonation blowing his vest up.

Next, the third and last martyr attacker of the team of the three, armed with Kalashnikov rifle equiped with Grinov (grenade launcher) and hand grenades came round and fought off the security guards, soldiers and others, with the help of Allah Almighty, for straight 6 hours and embraced martyrdom having dispatched many.

According to the Taliban, “as many as 24 electoral employees and 21 security forces were killed with dozens of others wounded.” Afghan officials rejected the Taliban’s body count.

In Kunar, the Taliban attacked the Kabul Bank branch in Asadabad. The target of the attack was the Afghan Local Police and Afghan National Police who were lined up to cash their paychecks. Afghan officials claimed that one policeman and four Taliban fighters were killed, but the Taliban claimed that “at least 28 puppets [were] lying dead and wounded on the second floor where no one was allowed to go in case they may find out about the death and injury toll,” and that “six Arbakis” were killed in the initial blast. The Taliban provided the following account of the attack, stating that only two suicide bombers were involved in the assault:

Abdurrahman, a martyr Mujahid detonated his explosive-vest targeting the long queue of the puppets (ALP /ANP) at the main entrance of the bank waiting for their turn to get paid in which scores of Arbaki lapdogs and police were killed.

In the meantime, Imran, a second martyr Mujahid reached second floor of the bank packed with the police and soldiers of ANA and engrained in a face to face fight with them lasting for over two hours. The brave fighter of the Islamic Emirate became martyr after two hours of fighting with the entire enemy single-handedly.

Also today, in Kunduz, a suicide bomber killed five people and wounded 20 more at a “Buzkashki competition” in an attack that targeted “a former Mujahideen leader,” Khaama Press reported. The Taliban have yet to release a statement on the Kunduz suicide attack. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan may have executed the attack; the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked group is active in Kunduz.

Today’s three suicide bombings follow a pair of suicide assaults on March 21 that targeted a hotel in Kabul and a police headquarters in Jalalabad in Nangarhar province.

The suicide assault, or coordinated attack using multiple suicide bombers and an assault team, is a tactic that is frequently used in Afghanistan by the Taliban and their allies, including the Haqqani Network, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, al Qaeda, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Suicide assaults are also commonly executed by al Qaeda and allied jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

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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