Taliban kill 6 Afghan soldiers, foreigner in pair of suicide attacks in Kabul

The Taliban launched a pair of suicide attacks today in the Afghan capital, killing six Afghan soldiers and a foreign citizen thought to be from Germany.

In the first attack, a suicide bomber whom the Taliban identified as “Hafiz Talha hailing from Wardak province, who was on foot,” targeted a bus that was used to transport soldiers and officers from the Ministry of Defense. Six soldiers were killed and between 12 to 20 soldiers and civilians were wounded, officials told Khaama Press. The Taliban, in a statement released at Voice of Jihad, claimed that their suicide bomber “killed or wounded about 27 puppet soldiers and officers of the Defense.”

In the second attack, a suicide bomber evaded security at the Isteqlal High School in Kabul and blew himself up in the auditorium as people were gathered to watch a play called, ironically, “Heartbeat and Silence after Explosion,” Pajhwok Afghan News reported. The play, which was hosted by the French Cultural Center, expressed a condemnation of suicide attacks, according to France 24. A foreigner, thought to be a German citizen, was killed and between 15 and 20 people were wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid alleged that the performance was targeted for bombing because it was designed “to insult Islamic values and spread propaganda about our jihad operations, especially on suicide attacks.”

Both the chief of police for Kabul and the Interior Ministry claimed that the suicide bomber used an “underwear bomb.” From Pajhwok Afghan News:

Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi confirmed one person had been killed and 15 to 20 others wounded in the bombing. The attacker had skillfully placed the explosives in his underwear and dodged strict security measures around the school…

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior said the attacker had hidden explosives in his underwear and detonated them when the film against terrorist attacks was being screened at the school’s auditorium.

The “underwear bomb” was pioneered by Ibrahim Hassan al Asiri, the master bomb maker for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Today’s bombings in Kabul are the latest high-profile attacks by the Taliban in the Afghan capital. Between Nov. 24 and Nov. 29, the Taliban launched four major suicide attacks and assaults against foreigners and Coalition forces in Kabul.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks in Kabul and the provinces as the US and NATO are ending the combat mission in Afghanistan. The rise in violence has forced the US to change the rules of engagement for next year and allow forces to conduct combat missions, as well as keep an additional 1,000 troops in country (10,800 troops will remain in Afghanistan as opposed to the planned 9,800). These adjustments by the US are unlikely to blunt the Taliban’s momentum.

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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