Workers at Defense Ministry were targeted by Taliban (Image EPA)
The Islamic Emirate have claimed responsibility for an attack on “hireling troops that had ended their shifts and were exiting the Kabul administration’s Defense Ministry building” on Saturday 27th February. The assault was carried out by “Abdullah from Nangarhar” (Mohammad Yousaf) wearing an explosives vest and was part of the Taliban’s operation Azm, which began in Spring (2015) and has now lasted all year with no winter break.
The BBC were informed by a spokesperson that “10 of the dead were civilians, and that eight people were injured”. The Taliban deny this stating, “there are no civilians present in the said area as it is a military zone and under tight enemy surveillance. All claims about civilian casualties are fabricated aimed at diverting the attention of people away from the target.” Islamic Emirate claim, “23 hireling officers were killed and some 29 others wounded”.
“Abdullah” (Mohammad Yousaf) was named by Afghan Taliban as the person who carried out the attack (Image via Islamic Emirate)
Taliban statement can be read here,
Aftermath of blast in Asadabad City, Kunar (Image, Pajhwok News)
An earlier bombing was carried out near a market in Asadabad City in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar. The attacker detonated explosives attached to a vehicle in front of the Provincial Governor’s office, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 30 others. There have been no claims of responsibility to date. Among the dead was pro-government militia commander, Haji Khan Jan who was known to oppose the Taliban. Other fatalities included children in a playground and several members of one family.
Bilal Sarwary tweeted,
Heart breaking – 3 brothers killed in Kunar suicide attack and 1 injured.Brothers were selling soup in Asadabad bazaar.
AFG Doctors in Kunar,”THREE Brothers killed in suicide attack ,Habibullah28 Ahsanullah 26. Rohullah 22. 4th brother under treatment.”
Heart breaking – funeral prayer of 3 brothers killed in suicide attack today in Asadabad, Kunar
#Afg (Image via Mirwais Afghan)
“This is one of the martyred in
#Kunar province yesterday. We have been effected by others war. we need to stop it”
(Words and image posted by Abdulqai qanit)
Residents queuing to donate blood for victims of today’s suicide attack (Image via Fazel Fazly)
The UN condemned this incident, stating, “United Nations Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA) reiterated that indiscriminate use of explosives in areas crowded by civilians is a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”
Afghanistan war a failure
The Afghanistan War is now seen by many as a very costly failure with the security worsening. As Vox points out,
“The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) submitted a statement to Congress on Wednesday in a hearing to review the fiscal year 2017 budget request and funding justification for the US Department of State. It included this line:
since FY 2002, Congress has appropriated approximately $113.1 billion to rebuild Afghanistan. That is at least $10 billion more, adjusted for inflation, than the amount the United States committed in civilian assistance to help rebuild Western Europe after World War II.”
Vox also highlight the following key points,
The Taliban is resurgent
ISIS has now established a foothold in Afghanistan
The Afghan security forces are a mess
Afghans are fleeing the country in droves
“America’s utter failure in Afghanistan, in one depressing statistic”
Nor are peace talks with the Quadrilateral Group (Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US) and Taliban likely to begin in a meaningful way any time soon. Firstly an Islamic Emirate spokesperson claims they have have been invited, secondly, Taliban are clear that foreign troops must leave before they will engage. US have recently committed to extending the stay of their military in Afghanistan. Pakistani journalist and author Ahmed Rashid points out, as the security situation deteriorates, “more US special forces, drones and aircraft have been deployed to southern Afghanistan, which faces the greatest Taliban threat.”
According to RFE/RL, following Kunar attack, “Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says his government will not hold peace talks with any militant faction that kills innocent Afghan civilians and that Afghan forces will step up their fight against terrorists.” This appears to be a case of “kettle calling the pot black” given that state backed police and militia are alleged to have been involved in the killing of civilians, themselves!
“Afghanistan Taliban: Can talks succeed?”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”