Taliban suicide team kills a dozen policemen in Kandahar

A Taliban suicide team killed 12 people, including seven civilians, in an attack on a police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar earlier today. The Taliban has launched five major suicide attacks in Afghanistan since the beginning of the month.

US military and diplomatic officials have claimed that assaults such as these are designed by the Taliban to increase its leverage in so-called peace talks with the US. In reality, the Taliban has all the leverage it needs, as President Trump has signaled that he wants US troops out of Afghanistan and will begin the withdraw. The Taliban is preparing the ground for the next stage in the war by targeting and weakening Afghan forces in major cities and outlying areas.

The Taliban began today’s strike by detonating a car bomb outside of the gate of the main headquarters in Kandahar City, Reuters reported. Taliban fighters entrenched in nearby positions then opened fire on Afghan forces and “targeted the police force’s counter-narcotics wing.”

Seven civilians and five security personnel were killed, and 83 more people, including 40 policemen, were wounded in the operation.

The Taliban claimed credit for the “”martyrdom attack” in a statement released on its official website, Voice of Jihad.

“Amid ongoing Al Fath spring offensive, afternoon hours today, Kandahar police headquarter initially came under a tactical bomb blast that enabled several martyrdom seeking Mujahideen, equipped with heavy and light weapons to enter the compound and launched operation inside headquarter [sic],” according to the statement.

Al Fath is the name of the Taliban’s 2019 offensive. The Taliban occasionally releases propaganda lauding its suicide squads and martyrdom battalions.

The Taliban has launched five high-profile suicide attacks on Afghan security forces and civilian installations since the beginning of July. 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 schoolchildren 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, at 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.

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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