Aftermath of the Taliban’s suicide attack that targeted NATO’s envoy. Image from Euronews.
The Afghan Taliban claimed credit for executing today’s suicide attack in Kabul that struck a convoy transporting NATO’s top diplomat to Afghanistan. A Turkish soldier and an Afghan civilian were killed in the blast.
The Taliban suicide bomber rammed his car into the NATO convoy as it traveled in the Wazir Akbar Khan area, a neighborhood in the Afghan capital which hosts foreign embassies, a NATO base, and other sensitive installations. The attack took place “shortly after 8:00 am, not far from the Iranian embassy,” a senior Afghan interior ministry official told Ariana News.
Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, NATO’s new command in the country, confirmed that one “service member died as a result of an attack in Kabul today.” But “the NATO Senior Civilian Representative,” who previously was Turkey’s ambassador to Afghanistan, “was not involved and is unharmed.”
The Taliban claimed today’s attack in Kabul in an official statement that was released on its website, Voice of Jihad, as well as in tweets by one of its official spokesmen. The Taliban inflated the impact of the blast by claiming that a “number of the foreign invaders have been killed or wounded as martyr attack hit US-Nato military convoy in the heart of Kabul city.”
“This came early this morning when a lone Mujahid of them [sic] martyr unit of the Islamic Emirate slammed his Corolla car filled with explosives into the convoy of the US-NATO convoy in Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, damaging a number of the enemy vehicles and inflicting lethal losses on the enemy,” the Taliban statement continued.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the nom de guerre for one of the jihadist group’s top spokesmen, indicated that the attack was intended to target US military personnel, and not NATO’s envoy.
“The purpose of today’s attack in Kabul was a convoy of US troops, the embassy or any other country nationals were not objective,” Mujahid tweeted.
Today’s attack was likely executed by what US military officials have previously called the Kabul Attack Network. This network is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and it pools resources and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate as well. The network’s contacts extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Kunar, Ghazni, and Zabul.
The attack on NATO’s envoy to Afghanistan takes place as rumors of peace talks between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and the US persist.
The Taliban have officially denied that peace talks are underway.
“There have been many rumors swirling around in the media lately about the latest developments in Afghanistan and negotiations with the Kabul administration, these are nothing more than the views and assumptions of these outlets. We have repeatedly declared that every report which is not published or confirmed by the official channels of Islamic Emirate are false and hold no value,” the Taliban stated on Voice of Jihad on Feb. 24.
Previous rumors of peace talks between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and the US, which had also been denied by the Taliban, were proven to be false.
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