As Afghan Army resumes offensive operations, Taliban launches suicide attacks

The Taliban has launched two deadly suicide attacks in major Afghan cities as the Afghan Army announced it would resume offensive operations.

The Taliban claimed credit for suicide attacks against the military in Gardez, the capital of Paktika province, and another against the National Directorate of Security in Ghazni City.

Today’s suicide bombing targeted “the National Directorate of Security’s (NDS) special unit in Ghazni province” and killed at least five civilians and wounded 40 more, according to TOLOnews.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the attack and identified the suicide bomber as “Zaid Kandahari.”

The first attack, on May 14, took place outside of a Defense Ministry headquarters in Gazdez City. Five civilians were killed and more than 20 were wounded, TOLONews reported.

The Taliban proudly claimed the May 14 “martyr operation” in an official statement released on Voice of Jihad. The Taliban said the attack was timed to follow “the announcement of the commencement of the offensives by the Kabul regime.”

The Taliban has several units devoted to training and executing suicide attacks. The son of Mullah Habiatullah, the emir of the Taliban, killed himself in such an attack in 2017. [See LWJ report, Son of Taliban’s emir kills himself in suicide attack on Afghan forces.]

The Afghan government and Ministry of Defense announced on May 14 that it would resume offensive operations against the Taliban, shifting from a posture of “active defense” that began after the Feb. 29 signing of the U.S.-Taliban withdrawal agreement. The Afghan government has hoped the Taliban would reduce its violence or even agree to a ceasefire after the deal was inked.

However, the Taliban has been clear it would continue military operations against the Afghan government, which it views as a “puppet” of the U.S., “impotent,” and a “stooge.” The Taliban has refused to negotiate directly with the Afghan government, and has said it would never join with it to govern the country. In fact, just days after the deal was signed, the Taliban said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name of its government, was the only legitimate entity to rule Afghanistan, and its emir, Mullah Habiatullah Akhundzada, was its legitimate ruler. [See LWJ report, Taliban religious decree calls for its emir to rule ‘Islamic government’ in Afghanistan.]

Taliban attacks have spiked since the signing of the mischaracterized “peace deal” between the U.S. and the Taliban. According to Reuters, Taliban attacks between March 1 and April 15 increased by more than 70 percent.

The Taliban has been clear that its deal with the U.S. was merely a “withdrawal agreement” and that it is obligated to wage jihad against the Afghan government to reestablish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

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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