Taliban suicide bombers kill dozens of civilians in Kabul, Parwan

The Taliban claimed credit for today’s suicide attacks in the capitals of Kabul and Parwan that killed dozens of civilians. One of the two attacks took place at an election rally for President Arshaf Ghani. The Taliban has warned civilians to stay away from election sites.

The largest attack took place in the city of Charikar, the capital of Parwan province. At least 28 people were killed and 42 more were wounded when a suicide bomber driving a motorcycle detonated his explosives at the entrance to an election rally for Ghani, TOLONews reported. Ghani was giving a speech as the bomb was detonated.

In a statement released on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban claimed the attack, which was carried out by “Nisar, another Mujahid of the martyr squad of the Islamic Emirate.” The Taliban claimed the attack targeted an intelligence headquarters and killed security personnel.

The attack in Kabul was carried out by “Mohammad Paktiawal, a Mujhid of the martyr unit of the Islamic Emirate,” the Taliban said in the same statement, and targeted the Ministry of Defense. TOLONews confirmed that that suicide bombing took place near the Ministry of Defense and the US embassy, but reported that 22 civilians were killed and 38 more were wounded in the blast.

The Taliban previously threatened to attack an election rally and other events. In an Aug. 6 statement released on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban described elections as a “theatrical,” “sham,” and “misleading processes” dominated by the West and called on all Afghans to boycott the voting. In that same statement, the Taliban explicitly threatened to attack election-related events.

“To prevent losses, God forbid, from being incurred by our fellow compatriots, they must stay away from gatherings and rallies that could become potential targets,” the Taliban statement said.

“The Islamic Emirate instructs all its Mujahideen to stand against this theatrical and sham of a process to their full capabilities and prevent the enemy from succeeding in their malicious plans,” it concluded.

Today’s attack in Parwan is not the first that targeted the political process. A suicide assault team targeted Amrullah Saleh, the former head of the National Directorate of Security and a candidate for vice president, at his headquarters in Kabul on July 28. While no group claimed credit for the attack, it is highly likely that the Taliban or one of its allies, possibly al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, carried it out (over the weekend, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense noted that the Taliban supplies AQIS with explosives to build bombs that will be used to launch attacks in Kabul and other major cities). During his time as the head of the NDS, Saleh was responsible for killing and capturing thousands of Taliban commanders and fighters.

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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