Two days of multiple Taliban attacks in Afghanistan have left two American soldiers, an Afghani official, and 18 others dead, as the Taliban shifts tactics during the coalition’s withdrawal. The attacks, which took place Friday and Saturday, were claimed by the Taliban as their own, officials in Afghanistan report.
The Taliban attack began Friday, when a bomb explosion rocked a convoy of North American Treaty Organization (NATO) International Security Assistants Force (ISAF) troops in Eastern Afghanistan, killing two American soldiers, CNN confirms. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Zabuillah Mujahid tweeting that the convoy had been targeted specifically.
Saturday morning, 12 Afghan civilians were clearing mines in southern Helmand province when another Taliban attack took their lives. The Afghanis were defusing tank mines set by the Taliban between Shorabak and Nad Ali. Afghan security forces responded and killed three militants, and arrested four more. The Taliban claims that those killed were soldiers, not civilians clearing mines.
Finally, gunmen in Kabul killed the head of the Afghan Supreme Court on Saturday morning. The Kabul police confirmed the Taliban attack and the death of Atiquallah Raufi. That afternoon, Taliban tactics continued, as a suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying Afghan National Army personnel near Kabul. Bystanders report at least six dead and 18 wounded from that attack, while the Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.
That last claim is the one which shows a change in Taliban attack strategy. Mujahid, who penned the email claiming the bus attack as their own, said that the Taliban would be stepping up attacks on foreign and Afghani forces going forward, reports the New York Times. Typically, violence in Afghanistan slows during the colder months, but this has been a much more violent fall than usual, the NYT continues.
These attacks follow on two deadly attacks earlier this week in Kabul, reports the Long War Journal.
“The Taliban will continue its attacks targeting foreign invaders and their Afghan slaves.”
The quote above comes from Mujahid, whose email says that the Taliban attacks will not be limited to military personnel, but will also target “media outlets” who are “motivating people towards vulgarity.”
NATO coalition withdrawals are underway, with the plan being to leave about 11,000 U.S. troops behind through 2015, lowering that number to 5,500 in 2016 and withdrawing to only a small advisory force in Kabul in 2017. This plan could change, as Taliban attacks in Afghanistan make it clear that the shaky Afghani government may not be ready to go it alone.