The Taliban continued its attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul today, targeting a NATO military convoy just outside the city’s airport with a suicide bombing. The bombing is the fourth in Kabul in four days, and has led Afghanistan’s president and chief executive to lash out at Pakistan for continuing to support and shelter the Taliban.
Today’s suicide attack was carried out by “Abdul Kabir,” who detonated “an explosives-laden sedan type vehicle” at the gate to Kabul International Airport, according to the Taliban, which claimed the attack. Afghan officials said that five people were killed and 17 more were wounded; all were civilians. The Taliban, which routinely exaggerates the effects of its operations, said that “2 APCs [armored personnel carriers] were engulfed in fire and completely destroyed, killing all the invaders onboard as well as causing casualties to nearby on-duty police.”
Today’s attack was preceded by two suicide bombings and a suicide assault that killed at least 44 people, including 20 Afghan police recruits and a US Special Forces soldier. In the first attack, on Aug. 7, a Taliban suicide bomber, who the group identified as “Abdul Raheem from Farah,” infiltrated a police academy in the capital and detonated his vest amidst a group of recruits, killing 20.
Shortly afterward, several Taliban fighters launched a suicide assault on Camp Integrity, a US Special Forces base in Kabul. The Taliban said four fighters, “Ali Shan and Ahmad Tawaf from Kunar, Khiyal Muhammad from Kabul and Roshanyar from Zabul” executed the attack. One of them detonated a vehicle at the base’s main gate, creating a breach in the perimeter, while the other three heavily armed fighters entered the base and engaged Coalition personnel. US military officials confirmed that eight US-contracted Afghan personnel, one Green Beret, and four Taliban fighters were killed in the bombing and firefight.
The next day, a suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at 1 a.m. in a residential district, killing 15 civilians and wounding more than 240. The Taliban did not claim credit for the bombing. The timing of the attack and the location indicate that the bomb exploded prematurely. The Taliban has tried to combat the reality that its attacks are responsible for killing the vast majority of civilians in Afghanistan.
The targets of the recent attacks are consistent with the Taliban’s stated goals for this year’s spring offensive, which is called Azm, or Resolve. The jihadist group has vowed to target the “foreign occupiers” and “the stooge regime,” or Afghan government.
The attacks in Kabul and elsewhere over the weekend have caused top Afghan officials to accuse the Pakistani government of continuing to back the Taliban.
“My question from [sic] Pakistan is, if an incident like Shah Shaheed would have taken place in Islamabad with its roots in Afghanistan, what would be their reaction?” President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said, according to Khaama Press. Ghani was referring to the bombing in the civilian neighborhood that killed 15 people and wounded 240 more.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah was more direct, and accused Pakistan of hosting peace talks while encouraging the Taliban to conduct attacks.
“They [the Pakistani government] said that Afghanistan’s enemy is Pakistan’s enemy. Which kind of enemy is this that they allow to commit crimes here and then hold meetings there,” Abdullah said, according to TOLONews.
The Taliban’s top leadership elements, including its main executive council and four regional commands, are all based inside Pakistan. And the Taliban are supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate and the military, both which view the al Qaeda-allied jihadist group as “strategic depth” against Indian influence in Afghanistan.
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