Taliban suicide bomber strikes NATO diplomatic convoy in Kabul

Taliban-suicide-NATO-EnvoyAftermath 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.

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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10 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    I’d view this attack much more seriously if it was accompanied by a couple of ‘sappers’ & a ‘handful’ of gunmen rather than a lone degenerate single-handedly commandeering a VBIED. Then again if something of consequence takes place in Kabul in the next 24 to 48 hours obviously those doing the planning once again failed to include me in their scheme(s).

    • jay says:

      Well, to me it seems to be facilitated by Iran.

      • Josh W says:

        Jay, where on earth do you get that?

        The Kabul Attack Network is in no way supported by Iran but rather a product of cooperation between the TB and HQN for coordinating efforts specifically in Kabul. You can make whatever linkages you like to the typical support channels those groups can tap but your statement is one of base ignorance of the conflict.

        And no, the Iranian nodes active in SW Afghanistan almost certainly had nothing to do with this attack either.

        I’m interested in the fact that this was a Turkish convoy. Their vehicles are usually armored NTVs or the Akrep 4×4. In my recollection they had never been hit….they do make a big point of slapping Islamic Crescents all over their vehicles though.

      • mike merlo says:

        Iran? What do you base ‘that’ on?

        • jay says:

          I base that on Iran’s past actions and that the attack took place in a heavily secured part of Kabul that happened to also house the Iranian embassy.

          • mike merlo says:

            What “past actions?” I fail to see the rationale that would lead one to suspect that this ‘kamikaze mission’ was facilitated by the Iranians.

  • blert says:

    It’s the ISI that wants a seat at that table.

    That reality has been put forth at every turn.

    Plainly, the ‘Taliban’ is an ISI asset — not unlike OBL — a big piece on Islamabad’s chess board.

    Iran is a red herring in this instance. The Kabul network is not their ‘thing.’

    The Iranians want the American money IN and the American Army OUT. All prospective ‘negotiated’ exits figure to deliver on that score.

    I can’t believe that the mullahs would go straight after Barry when he’s wooing them on bended knees.

    After Tehran gets their atomics, Kabul is insignificant… caught between THE two Islamic atomic powers.

    It can be no surprise that Barry wants the US Army out of that squeeze.

    It can only be a mater of time before Tehran and the Sunnis bring their communal rage to Afghanistan/ Khorasan. As one might notice, eastern Khorasan => Herat and northeast to the Oxus river.

    //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Khorasan

    Iran is s l o w l y building a railroad – to it’s gauge (The world dominant British/ American gauge) east to Herat. The terrain must be harsh. It’ been costly — and constructed in fits and starts.

    Such a rail line would go a l o n g way towards bringing Herat back into Persia/ Iran/ Greater Khorasan.

    It’s of note that the Taliban scarcely operate/ fight/ detonate up in the Shi’ite lands in the Afghanistan northwest.

    Curious, no?

    • mike merlo says:

      ISI seems to “want” a lot of ‘things.’ Yet they always seem to end up worse off than when they 1st ‘started’ a ‘project.’

      I for one am looking forward to the Shia’s & Sunni’s waging their “blood feud” in the AfPak ‘Theater’

  • Timothy Searfus says:

    Blert, you have to consider the complex attack on the U.S. Consulate in Herat on 13Sep13. Also, the RPG attack on the three vehicle movement in May 2014 intending to kill the UN High Commissioner in Herat prior to the general elections that year. Are you saying Iran was behind those attacks? Not likely.

    • Vyom says:

      The attack on Indian embassy in Herat in 2014 was executed by Lashkar e Toiba. It is ISI proxy meaning ISI is active there and can stage an attack so it is up to them to use which proxy against which target. In the case of US consulate it was Taliban.

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