The Taliban claimed credit for a suicide attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul that killed scores of people. The Afghan government said all of those killed were civilians, while the Taliban claimed its assault killed “intelligence officers.”
Afghan officials said that the suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying employees from the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum as it traveled in Police District 3 in the early morning Kabul time, according to TOLONews. The Afghan news agency reported that 36 civilians were killed and 40 more were wounded in the blast.
The Taliban, in a statement release on Voice of Jihad, claimed its suicide bomber, who was identified as “Ahmad,” slammed his corolla car filled with explosives into buses carrying intelligence employees and killed 37 officials.
“Mujahideen combatants spent the past two months pursuing the intelligence services employees before they succeeded in conducting the attack,” the Taliban claimed.
The Taliban is sensitive to the issue of civilian casualties incurred during its operations, and routinely denies United Nations reports that state that the Taliban have been responsible for the lion’s share of casualties in Afghanistan. The Islamic State’s Khorasan province, on the other hand, has no qualms about claiming attacks on civilians.
This has led to a curious situation where one of the largest suicide attacks in Afghanistan has gone unclaimed. On May 31, a suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives in the diplomatic quarter of the capital. Reports indicate that upwards of 150 Afghans may have been killed in the deadly blast. Western and Afghan officials were quick to point the finger at the Haqqani Network, the dangerous Taliban subgroup whose commander is also the Taliban’s deputy emir. The Taliban has issued multiple denials that it carried out the bombing. The Islamic State, which has claimed credit for attacks in the region that it never executed, was silent.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.