The Taliban has just given the US military a not so friendly reminder, that despite 15 years of conflict, they can still strike pretty much anywhere in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle loaded with explosives just outside of a government compound, which housed a security unit responsible for protecting VIPs. Shortly after the explosion, Taliban militants rushed inside the building (which is just a stone’s throw away from the Presidential Palace), leading to a gunfight that lasted 2 hours.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, said the attack demonstrated the Taliban’s “complete disregard for the lives of Afghan civilians.”
He also said the attack, “ in circumstances almost certain to cause immense suffering to civilians,” might be considered a war crime.
Police commander Obaidullah Tarakhail told AP he couldn’t hear or see for 20 minutes after the initial blast.
“This was one of the most powerful explosions I have ever heard,” he said. “All around was dark and covered with thick smoke and dust.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul condemned the “senseless act of violence” that it said underscores the brutality of the Taliban.
28 people were killed in the attack and 300 were wounded, most of them women and children. Only one of the attackers was reportedly killed in the incident. A Taliban spokesman later took responsibility for the attack, saying that it was just the beginning of a new spring offensive.
In recent years the Taliban has recouped much of its strength, and has taken over large swaths of the countryside. There they rule the population in much the same manner as before the US invasion in 2001. The regularity of their attacks has grown significantly, and they briefly managed to recapture the city of Kunduz last September; the first city they had occupied in 14 years.
To make matters worse, the Afghan army has been losing tens of thousands of men, due to casualties, desertions, and poor re-enlistment rates. Over the past year about a third of the Afghan Army has been replaced, and has shrunk by roughly 14,000 troops. Couple that with the widespread corruption within both the army and the police, and it’s clear that Afghanistan’s security apparatus is falling apart, and just in time for the reemergence of the Taliban.
And because of that, this recent attack in Kabul is just a sign of things to come. The enemy is knocking on the gates of Kabul, and they’ll get in eventually. If not for the small contingent of US forces in Afghanistan, the Taliban would have retaken Kabul ages ago.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .