The Taliban claimed credit for a suicide attack today at a base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand that killed seven Georgian soldiers. The suicide attack is the sixth of its kind by the Taliban and their allies in less than two weeks.
Today’s suicide attack took place inside a Forward Operating Base manned by Georgian troops in the district of Now Zad in northern Helmand. Now Zad was largely under Taliban control before US Marines launched an offensive in 2010 to drive the group from the populated areas of the district.
Irakly Dzneladze, the chief of Georgia’s military staff, stated that “[i]t was a terrorist attack on our base …. Six of our soldiers died, nine were wounded,”according to Reuters.
The International Security Assistance Force later noted that seven Georgian soldiers were killed “when enemies of Afghanistan attacked their position in southern Afghanistan with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device,” or suicide car bomb.
The Taliban claimed the attack in a statement released on Voice of Jihad, their propaganda website. The attack “killed 20 foreign invaders and wounded dozens others,” the Taliban claimed.
The suicide bomber was identified as “Abdul Ghafar from Kandahar province.” According to the Taliban, Ghafar “detonated his truck laden with heavy-duty explosives inside a large ISAF base, located on the road in Angrak Karez area, causing the above mentioned casualties as well as destroying several tanks and vehicles parked inside.”
The Taliban routinely exaggerate the effects of their operations and boost the counts of ISAF and Afghan personnel killed.
The Taliban have said they would step up attacks against “foreign invaders,” or Coalition personnel operating under the command of the International Security Assistance Force as well as workers from non-governmental organizations operating in Afghanistan, and stressed that suicide and insider attacks would be used. [See LWJ report, Taliban promise suicide assaults, ‘insider attacks’ in this year’s spring offensive.]
Today’s suicide attack in Helmand is the sixth high-profile suicide bombing in Afghanistan by the Taliban and their allies in the past 10 days. The last major suicide attack, which took place on June 3, killed 10 Afghan students, two US soldiers, and an Afghan Local Policeman after US and Afghan soldiers were targeted outside a school in Paktia.
On May 29, the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Taliban launched a joint suicide assault on the governor’s compound in Panjshir. That same day, a suicide assault team attacked a Red Cross office in Jalalabad. The Taliban have denied involvement in the Jalalabad assault.
On May 24, a Taliban suicide assault team targeted a UN-linked NGO compound in Kabul. And on May 23, a suicide bomber killed seven people in an attack that targeted a local militia commander in Ghazni.