The Taliban claimed credit for today’s suicide assault near the Afghan Ministry of Defense in Kabul that killed more than 20 people, including Army and police officials. The attack is the latest in a string of deadly assaults in the capital city over the past several months.
The attack began as the Taliban detonated “a remote-controlled Improvised Explosive Device” outside the Ministry of Defense, according to TOLONews. As first responders gathered at the scene of the first bombing, a Taliban suicide bomber who is believed to have been wearing an Afghan National Army uniform detonated his explosives.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muhajid claimed the twin bombings on his official Twitter feed and confirmed local press reports that an IED blast was followed by a suicide bomber, or “martyr attack.”
“Powerful blast followed by martyr attack hit enemy in gate of MoD [Ministry of Defense] building as they were leaving duties afternoon today,” Muhajid claimed. He also said that that 58 Afghan security personnel “including Gen. Raziq Panjsheri, PD2 [Kabul Police District 2] commander and his deputy and two guards” of President Ashraf Ghani.
Afghan officials estimated that 24 people were killed and 91 more were wounded. While the Taliban routinely exaggerate the number of people killed in its attacks, Muhajid’s account that senior officials were killed was bolstered by press reports.
“Among the dead are Sayed Zaman, the police chief for PD2, and Razaq, the deputy chief of support for the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) Regiment Unit. Also killed were Zaman’s deputy and the head of the intelligence unit for PD2. A number of other senior police officials are also among the dead,” TOLONews reported.
Kabul has been the scene of several high-profile attacks over the summer. The last attack, on Aug. 24, took place at American University in Kabul. Two gunmen breached an outer wall after exploding a bomb, and killed seven student and five security personnel before being killed by Afghan commandos. Neither the Taliban nor the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack.
On July 23, the Islamic State claimed a double suicide attack that targeted Hazara as they were protesting in the capital. Scores of civilians were killed and more than 200 were wounded in the deadly attack, which was quickly denounced by the Taliban.
On June 30, the Taliban claimed credit for an attack in Kabul that was similar to today’s assault. A suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying police cadets as it traveled in the capital. As first responders arrived at the scene of the attack, a second suicide bomber detonated his explosives during the rescue effort.
Ten days prior, a Taliban suicide bomber targeted a bus in the capital, and killed 23 people, including 14 Nepali security guards. The bus was carrying individuals who worked at the Canadian embassy.
The latest attacks in Kabul took place as the Taliban has sustained an offensive in northern, southern, eastern, and western Afghanistan. The Taliban offensive, dubbed Operation Omari after its founder and first emir, Mullah Omar, has strained Afghanistan’s struggling security forces. Several districts have fallen under Taliban control over the past year.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.