Center for Strategic Communication

The Taliban claimed credit for a coordinated double suicide bombing that killed three Western soldiers and an Afghan civilian in an attack outside the governor’s compound in the capital of Kunar province. The suicide attack is the second that targeted US troops in the east in two days.

The suicide bombers detonated their explosive vests among a group of Western soldiers who were walking to the governor’s compound in Asadabad, the provincial capital of Kunar, AFP reported. The soldiers were heading to a meeting of the provincial council, according to TOLONews.

The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that three soldiers were killed in “an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan” but did not disclose the nationality of the troops or where they were killed. US soldiers make up the vast majority of the Western forces that operate in the province. Two Afghan soldiers and several Afghan civilians were also reported to have been wounded in the attack.

The US Department of Defense reported on Aug. 9 that a Command Sergeant Major and a Major were among those killed in the attack. Also, A USAID employee was also among those killed.

The Taliban claimed credit for today’s attack in a statement released on their website, Voice of Jihad. The Taliban claimed that “as many as 17 foreign invaders” were killed and “several dozens more” were wounded. The Taliban routinely inflate the casualties caused during their attacks.

The Taliban have conducted numerous suicide attacks in Kunar over the years, including an attack in April of this year that killed the head of the provincial high peace council. In June 2011, the Taliban claimed credit for a suicide attack in the Marawara district in Kunar that killed three interpreters. The Taliban released an official statement on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, and claimed that a “Mujahida sister” executed the attack.

The Taliban are known to have opened suicide camps along the Afghan-Pakistani border, according to the accounts of two young girls who were trained to carry out suicide attacks but escaped to tell their stories.

Qari Zia Rahman, a dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda leader, has established training camps for female suicide bombers in both Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Qari Zia operates in Kunar and Nuristan provinces in Afghanistan and in the tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand in Pakistan.

Today’s suicide attack is the second by the Taliban in two days that targeted NATO troops in the east. Yesterday the Taliban killed three civilians and wounded an undisclosed number of US soldiers and Afghan civilians in an attack outside an ISAF base in Logar province.

Today’s attack also took place just one day after the US added to its list of global terrorists a Saudi al Qaeda leader who runs training camps for the terror group in Kunar. Azzam Abdullah Zureik Al Maulid Al Subhi, a Saudi better known as Mansur al Harbi, “travelled to Afghanistan more than a decade ago to join al Qaeda,” and “is responsible for training militants and for the coordination of foreign fighters who travel to Afghanistan to fight against coalition forces,” the State Department said. “As a result of his key training position, al Harbi is closely connected to many senior al Qaeda leaders,” State said.

Five Saudis have been killed by Coalition special operations forces in Kunar since September 2010. In addition, several Pakistani and Afghan members of al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Taiba have been killed in recent airstrikes in the province. Kunar and the neighboring province of Nuristan serve as safe havens for al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and local Salafist groups [see LWJ report, Al Qaeda emir for Kunar, deputy, and facilitator killed in airstrikes, for more details].