Taliban suicide bomber kills Croatian soldier in Kabul

A Taliban suicide bomber killed one Croatian soldier and wounded two more in an attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul earlier today. The Taliban has ramped up its suicide operations over the past month, launching six high-profile suicide attacks since the beginning of July alone.

Croatia’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that one of its soldiers was killed and two more were wounded as their convoy was hit near a military base in Kabul, The Associated Press reported. Croatia has a small contingent of just 99 troops in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid took credit for the attack, and claimed that the suicide bomber targeted “CIA operatives.”

“Martyrdom seeker (Mullah Ahmad Ghaznawi) using VBIED targeted CIA vehicle convoy 08:30 am today on Tangi road in Tarakhel area of Kabul city’s PD15 resulting in 2 SUVs completely destroyed & multiple CIA operatives killed/wounded,” Mujahid tweeted.

The uptick in suicide operations this month have targeted Coalition troops, and civilian installations. On July 1, the Taliban launched two suicide assaults: one in Kabul that targeted the Ministry of Defense’s logistics and engineering center (one killed and more than 100 wounded, including 50 school-aged children and 16 soccer players), and another against the Maruf district center in Kandahar (eight election workers and 11 soldiers killed; the district center was overrun).

On July 7, a Taliban suicide bomber killed more than one dozen people and wounded upwards of 200, including children, during an attack on an intelligence facility in Ghazni. On July 13, a Taliban suicide team killed six police officers and two civilians in a strike on a hotel that was adjacent to a police facility in Qala-i-Naw, the capital of Badghis province. On July 18, a Taliban suicide team killed 12 people, including seven civilians, in an attack on a police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

There were two other major suicide attacks that have gone unclaimed. Both took place on July 19. A suicide bomber detonated his car bomb outside of Kabul University, killing 10 civilians. Another suicide bomber, reportedly a child, killed five civilians in an attack at a wedding in Nangarhar.

Zabihullah Mujahid denied Taliban involvement in both attacks. The Islamic State Khorasan Province, which is quick to claim these types of operations, has also been silent. It is possible that the Taliban carried out these two suicide bombings, but does not want to take responsibility for them as civilians were killed. The Taliban does not want to be perceived as conducting attacks that intentionally target civilians – even though they have no problem claiming credit for attacks where civilians, and young children, are simply collateral damage.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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