A Taliban attack on government building in Kabul has left at least 28 people dead and over 300 injured, CNN is reporting.
Reports indicate a Taliban suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into a private parking lot in the back of a building at about 9 a.m. local time. The attacker then detonated the explosives, killing himself in the process, and blowing apart the back wall. A second group of attackers then entered the building through the rubble, beginning a two-hour gun battle that ended in at least one attacker being killed.
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) April 19, 2016
By the time the dust had settled, at least 28 people were killed and over 300 were injured.
According to USA Today, the intended target was a government building that serves as the headquarters of a secret service unit designed to protect government officials and other VIPs. Despite the military nature of the target, however, most of the dead and injured were civilians, including women and children.
According to Ismael Kawosi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, 327 people have been taken to hospitals.
— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) April 19, 2016
In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack.
“First a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden [truck] on the gate of the department and then other armed attackers went in and started shooting on the rest of the enemies.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a statement condemning the attack.
“Afghanistan deserves peace and security, not attacks that victimize parents taking their children to school, workers on their morning commute, and people who have stepped forward to help defend their fellow citizens.”
The Kabul attack was the first in a series of attacks that the Taliban has promised to carry out this spring. Last week, the Taliban announced a so-called “Spring Offensive,” which, according to a statement, is intended to “employ all means at our disposal to bog the enemy down in a war of attrition that lowers the morale of the foreign invaders and their internal armed militias.”
According to General John W. Nicholson, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, the fact that the Taliban is carrying out terrorist attacks in urban areas means that they’re losing where it counts — on the battlefield against Afghan security forces.
“Today’s attack shows the insurgents are unable to meet Afghan forces on the battlefield and must resort to these terrorist attacks.”
In a tweet, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani echoed Nicholson’s claim that the Taliban is resorting to terrorist attacks because they’re losing on the battlefield.
Today’s terrorist attack near Pul-e-Mahmud Khan, #Kabul clearly shows the enemy’s defeat in face-to-face battle with ANSDF.
— ارگ (@ARG_AFG) April 19, 2016
Despite being overshadowed by the much larger, much better-funded, and much more media-savvy terrorist group ISIS, the Taliban is alive and well in Afghanistan and, as recently as October 2015, were enjoying a period of resurgence in the war-torn country, according to an October 2 CNN report.
After Taliban forces re-took the city of Kunduz – the group’s first major victory in the region in 15 years – local Afghans reported feeling helpless in the face of the Taliban’s resurgence.
As 22-year-old student Iqbal explained, “The situation in Afghanistan is getting worse every day. The lack of security has caused so many problems, with the fall of Kunduz being only the latest. People are suffering due to poverty, unemployment and a lack of confidence in the future.”
This is a developing story. More information about the Taliban attack in Kabul will be provided as it becomes available.
[Photo by Rahmat Gul/AP Images]