The Taliban may have attacked facilities in Afghanistan in separate events which killed about 46 people, including 13 suicide bombers, and injured over 150. The latest incident happened early on Thursday in Ghazni City when a truck filled with explosives was detonated by a suicide bomber. The incident occurred at a regional headquarters facility for the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which is Afghanistan’s domestic intelligence service according to Rod Nordland and Fazal Muzhary of the New York Times.
Nordland and Muzhary stated this recent attack, occurring less than a week after the last one, had involved a ground attack by a group of men who may be tied to the Taliban. Nordland and Muzhary reported insurgents had stormed the NDS facility killing eight personnel and injuring 10. Four policemen and two civilians also died and about 136 were wounded. Ghazni’s Deputy Governor, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi said 13 of the 15 attackers died, one was captured and another was reported missing.
The same type of attack had occurred in the eastern part of Afghanistan at another NDS headquarters facility at about 5 a.m. the previous Saturday. According to Khalid Alokozai and Rod Nordland of the New York Times, a powerful bomb hidden in a car exploded and had damaged homes up to a mile away from the center of detonation. Like the second attack, six insurgents reportedly entered the facility and killed two officials, injuring five. Four civilians were killed and about 40 of them had sustained injuries. The six attackers were also killed.
Nordland and Alokozai stated a separate attack also took place by a group of men who may or may not be affiliated with the Taliban. These men allegedly attacked 15 other men who may have been attempting to “flee” to Iran from Afghanistan. Alokozai and Nordland stated the young men were trying to leave through the Southwestern border, but were then shot. 11 of the men died, and four were badly wounded.
Jawad Afghan, Farah Province spokesman for the governor, said it is unusual for Taliban to be so far west, and the group of men could instead be affiliated with an Iranian gang. Afghan also stated the young men who were shot may have been trying to flee to Iran for work and were innocent.
At a time when the Taliban may be attacking facilities in Afghanistan, Benny Avni of Newsweek asks the pertinent question – will U.S. troops continue to remain there? Avni stated President Obama has yet to reach a new agreement with leaders in Afghanistan to decide whether U.S. troops will remain to further help combat any extremist groups. While Afghanistan is currently dealing with their own political disagreements though, Obama is reportedly fulfilling his “campaign promise” to bring troops back to the U.S.
Avni said President Obama is looking to withdraw from Afghanistan if a new security agreement is not drawn up by the end of the year. Avni also stated that top Afghanistan watchers are suggesting this particular situation is dangerous since U.S. troops helped to remove the hold that the Taliban and other groups like Al-Qaeda had on parts of Afghanistan.
Avni reported that Secretary of State, John Kerry has been working with Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani in hopes of figuring out which one is most likely to become president of Afghanistan. Avni stated the U.S. had hoped these candidates would agree on election results prior to the NATO summit in Wales in order to address a new Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).
On Monday, however, FOX News reported that Abdullah had declared he will not accept the outcome of second election results either and that talks to work with Ghani are “deadlocked.” FOX News stated Abdullah had claimed he believes he is the winner of the two elections which had taken place in April and July of this year, but that election authorities have been in favor of Ghani to win. According to Abdullah, “the political process has reached a deadlock” even though second-round election results are reported to be out later this week.
Without a new BSA, Afghanistan may be another country in the Middle East under major attack by extremist groups with limited help from the U.S. Until Abdullah and Ghani reach an agreement in regards to electoral results, and work on establishing their country’s foreign policy, Afghanistan may face conflicts similar to Syria and Iraq, such as the Taliban allegedly attacking facilities, government personnel, and civilians.
By Liz Pimentel
N.Y. Times (Thursday attack)
N.Y. Times (Saturday attack)