The Taliban followed up two deadly attacks in Kabul earlier last week with a series of bombings, assaults, and suicide attacks in the capital and four provinces over the weekend. Twelve de-mining personnel, 11 Afghan soldiers and police, two Coalition troops, and a Supreme Court official are among those killed.
On the night of Dec. 12, the Taliban killed two Coalition soldiers in an IED attack in the Bagram district in the central province of Parwan. TOLONews reported that the slain soldiers were Americans. The US relinquished control of the Parwan Detention Facility just two days prior after transferring the prison’s remaining three foreign detainees, including Pakistani Taliban commander Latif Mehsud, to Pakistan. On Dec. 11, the US had conducted two airstrikes in Parwan that are said to have killed 12 Taliban fighters and five civilians.
On Dec. 13, the Taliban launched two major attacks in Kabul and another in the southern province of Helmand. In Kabul, a suicide bomber attacked an Afghan Army bus and killed six soldiers. Also, gunmen riding a motorcycle shot and killed the chief secretary of the Supreme Court of Afghanistan.
In Helmand, the Taliban gunned down 12 workers who were clearing land mines. According to TOLONews, the de-miners were based out of Camp Bastion, which was turned over from Coalition to Afghan control at the end of October. By the end of November, the Taliban attacked the base, penetrated the perimeter, and fought Afghan forces for nearly four days before being defeated.
Today, six Taliban fighters and five Afghan security personnel were killed during a Taliban ambush in the northwestern province of Faryab.
Also today, Afghan Taliban fighters backed by units from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, “launched [a] coordinated attack on security forces check posts” in the district of Dangam in Kunar province, Khaama Press reported. Afghan officials claimed that eight Taliban fighters were killed, while the Taliban claimed three Afghan soldiers were killed in the fighting.
The clashes over the weekend were preceded by two Taliban suicide attacks in Kabul on Dec. 11. In one of the attacks, a suicide bomber killed six Afghan soldiers as they rode on a bus. In the other, a teenage Taliban fighter purportedly detonated an underwear bomb at a French-run high school in the capital, killing a German citizen. The bombing took place during the performance of a play that criticized suicide attacks.
The Taliban have increased offensive operations in Kabul and the provinces as the US and NATO are ending the combat mission in Afghanistan. The rise in violence has forced the US to change the rules of engagement for next year and allow forces to conduct combat missions, as well as keep an additional 1,000 troops in country (10,800 troops will remain in Afghanistan as opposed to the planned 9,800).
As the US and allied countries withdraw their forces, the Afghan National Security Forces have taken the brunt of the casualties. This year, Afghan forces have suffered the highest casualty rates since the war began in 2001. As of Nov. 5, “4,634 Afghan security forces were killed in action this year, up from 4,350 last year,” USA Today reported, based on a briefing by Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson. The number of wounded personnel and those who have gone AWOL, or absent without leave, was not disclosed. Anderson said the high casualty rate for the Afghan security forces “is not sustainable.”