A Taliban suicide bomber killed four members of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) in an attack on a convoy in the capital of Kabul earlier today. The NDS unit hit is reportedly responsible for targeting Taliban units that operate in the contested provinces of Logar and Wardak, just south of Kabul.
The Taliban claimed credit for targeting what it described as “NDS special force(s)” in a statement that was released today on Voice of Jihad, its official website. The suicide bomber was identified as “Ahmad Ghaznwi,” and according to the statement, he rammed “an explosive packed vehicle” into the NDS convoy.
The NDS unit that was targeted is involved in “all raids on civilian compounds, mosques and madrasas of Logar and Wardak provinces,” according to the Taliban. The Taliban also claimed it executed a second suicide attack in Wardak province, but did not disclose the target of that bombing.
Afghan police officials confirmed that four NDS officers were killed in the blast. According to TOLONews, the 01 Unit of the NDS, which “has carried out numerous operations in the past two months including a number of nights raids in central Wardak and Logar province,” was indeed targeted.
Both the Taliban and its rival, the Islamic State’s Khorasan province, have been able to execute suicide and other complex attacks against security forces and other sensitive targets in the Afghan capital despite heightened security. Earlier this week, an Islamic State suicide bomber detonated his explosives only minutes after the convoy of General Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s first vice president, passed by. Dostum was returning from a year long exile in Turkey and had just landed at Kabul International Airport.
The NDS has been conducting raids in Logar and Wardak due to an uptick in Taliban activity in these two provinces over the past year. Both provinces are highly contested. The Taliban currently controls three of Wardak’s seven districts, and three more are contested, according to an ongoing study by FDD’s Long War Journal. At the end of June, the Taliban captured more than 70 policemen in Jalrez district, which borders the province of Kabul.
The situation in Logar is similar to that of Wardak. Like Wardak, the Taliban currently controls three of Logars’s seven districts, and three more are contested. In mid-July, the Taliban set up checkpoints on the Kabul-Gardez highway, which runs through Logar, and began searching vehicles and taxing drivers. Additionally, the Taliban shut down nearly all of the schools in Logar and tribal elders are negotiating to reopen them.