Five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates were among 11 people killed in a bombing at a guest house in Kandahar City, Afghanistan, yesterday. The UAE’s ambassador to Afghanistan, as well as the governor of Kandahar, were also wounded in the attack. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Taliban distanced itself from it.
In a brief statement released on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official propaganda website, the group denied that it was responsible for the blast:
“We reject involvement in Kandahar province guest house attack which left dozens of enemy officials, MP and foreign gusts [sic]” killed or wounded, the Taliban said. “This was enemy internal dispute as Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate have no operation last night in the said province [sic].”
If Taliban did not physically executed the attack, it is more than likely the group was still involved on some level. Kandahar is Taliban territory, and it is highly unlikely that any group seeking to hit such a high value target could do so without the tacit approval and support (intelligence, logistics, bomb-making resources, etc.) of the Taliban to execute such a sophisticated attack.
The Taliban has good reason to deny involvement in this attack. The group seeks to maintain friendly relations with countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as it relies on these nations to allow leaders and financiers to fundraise and conduct other activities inside their borders. This is borne out in the US State Department’s designations of several Taliban and Haqqani Network leaders as global terrorists, who are known to have traveled to the UAE to garner support for jihadists based in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sample of Taliban and Haqqani Network leaders who have fundraised in the UAE:
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