The Taliban have claimed credit for today’s suicide attack outside Camp Eggers, a large base in the heart of a secured area of Kabul that hosts the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan and other ISAF units. The suicide bomber killed six people and wounded five more, according to Afghan officials. The officials claimed the that suicide attack was carried out by a 14-year-old boy, while the Taliban said a 28-year-old man executed the attack. From Al Jazeera:
The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, saying they had dispatched a bomber to target the Kabul offices of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“One of our mujahideen targeted an important intelligence office used for recruiting Americans and Afghans for spying,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
The bomber blew himself up near the entrance of Camp Eggers, a NATO spokeswoman said, referring to a sprawling base that is home to 2,500 coalition trainers.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Kabul, said that police reports blame a lone suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. The teenager approached his target on a bicycle, police said.
“This attack was the near the entrance of the compound – a gate where people go in and out of the headquarters. I have been through this entrance before, and you have to go through a number of barriers to get in,” he reported.
The Taliban however claimed that the attacker was 28 years old, and not a child as claimed by officials.
ISAF seized on the Afghan officials’ report that a teenaged boy carried out the suicide attack, and issued the following statement:
The International Security Assistance Force condemns today’s suicide attack in Kabul, which killed several innocent Afghan civilians. According to reports from Afghan security officials, who immediately arrived on scene to secure the area, the suicide attacker today was a teenaged youth. Attacks like these exploit vulnerable individuals, coercing them into committing horrible acts. Initial casualty reports indicate only Afghan civilians suffered injuries or died from the explosion.
“If these reports are true, by taking advantage of an impressionable child to carry out this attack, the insurgents display cowardice. Forcing underage youth to do their dirty work again proves the insurgency’s despicable tactics. They are completely detached from Afghan society and the interests of the Afghan people who desire peace and stability in their country,” said Brig. Gen. Günter Katz, ISAF spokesman.
Today’s suicide attack is the first of its kind in Kabul since June 22, when a Haqqani Network suicide assault team stormed a hotel in the capital. The National Directorate of Security has heavily targeted the Kabul Attack Network during the past several months, and has rolled up several terror cells plotting attacks in the capital [see LWJ report, Afghan intelligence thwarts terror plots in Kabul, Logar, and Parwan].
The Kabul Attack Network is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate as well. The network’s tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Ghazni, and Zabul, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.
The Kabul Attack Network is led by Dawood (or Daud) and Taj Mir Jawad, military and intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal. Dawood is the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kabul, while Taj Mir Jawad is a top commander in the Haqqani Network. In the US military files that were released by WikiLeaks, Taj Mir Jawad is identified as a key Haqqani Network leader.