Afgan officials have confirmed that a suicide bomber killed 20 policemen while wounding 29 others near a Kabul police station on Monday.
The New York Times reported that the suicide bomber had ties to the Taliban, and his attack has been part of a series of militant attacks on the Afghanistan capital this year.
Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, General Mohammad Ayub Salangi, confirmed via Twitter that Monday’s attack took place in a western part of the capital, named Deh Mazang Square, which is home to several police stations.
“Ten people were reported killed and 20 others were wounded in a suicide attack in Deh Mazang square of Kabul city,” deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayoub Salangi confirmed on Twitter on Monday.
“Most of the victims were civilians.”
Reports indicate that the target of the bombing was the headquarters of the Afghan National Civil Order Police.
“These attacks won’t deter our determination to fight terrorsits,” stated Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack via a Twitter statement from their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, who stated that the bomber had targeted the facility as a large group of police officers were leaving and claimed that more than 40 police officers were killed and wounded; a number that is likely exaggerated and aimed to promote the insurgency’s success against their targets, further motivating their cause.
“You see that tree? The branches are covered in flesh and blood,” said Ahmad Parwiz, who sells fried dough across the street from the National Civil Order Police in Kabul and witnessed the attacks. “There were a lot of visitors queued up to go inside when the explosion happened. Thank God we weren’t hurt on this side of the road.”
According to spokesman for NATO and United States forces in Afghanistan, Col. Michael Lawhorn, the number of Afghan soldiers and policemen lost to insurgent violence through 2015 was 28 percent higher than 2014.
Close to 16,000 soldiers and police officers are said to be the number of casualties in 2015, with at least 5,000 of them killed, according to an Afghan official briefed on the matter.
When asked about the number of soldier casualties, General Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan ministry of defense, declined to comment and referred media to the ministry’s daily news releases, which is known to give accounts of the day’s casualties, along with other information.
“All I can say is that compared to 2014, the casualties in 2015 were more,” General Wazir said.
Yahoo News has also reported that news of the attacks comes just days before delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States are set to meet in Islamabad on February 6 to plan out a resolution and negotiate peace between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents, the latter having plagued the region for 15 years.
Those with insight believe the recent series of attacks by the insurgents highlight a push to seize more territory in an attempt to achieve a favorable compromise during the talks on February 6.
Last July, the Taliban and Pakistan — historically known to back the group — gathered for a first round of talks to negotiate a peace treaty, but those talks stalled when the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been confirmed, resulting in conflict between the two groups.
According to the quarterly report delivered to U.S. Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Taliban controls more of the country of Afghanistan than at any time since U.S. troops invaded in 2001. A sobering fact considering the 14 years, $113 billion, and — most importantly — thousands of lives the U.S. has sacrificed on Afghan reconstruction.
[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]