Taliban terrorists used a stolen Humvee as a car bomb on Monday, killing at least nine Afghan troops and injuring dozens more at a base used by the government’s intelligence service.
The bombing, which took place around 5 a.m. in the Ghazni province, was so powerful it shattered windows miles away, a spokesman for the provincial governor said in a statement reported by the Star and Stripes.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the group in a statement published on the Taliban news website.
“Mujahidin carried out a suicide attack on a special intelligence unit in Ghazni city in a Humvee vehicle,” Mujahid said, according to a translation of the statement. “The attack took place in Ghazni city and completely destroyed the intelligence center but was so precise and careful that no civilians were harmed.”
The bombing came amid a series of other attacks over the weekend after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the country’s security forces would end their defensive posture and go on the offensive against the Taliban. Ghani announced the offensive decision after 37 people, including newborn babies, were killed at a hospital in Kabul.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the hospital attack, the Afghan government believes the Taliban was behind the attack. U.S. officials have separately suggested the attack may have been carried out by the Afghan ISIS affiliate, ISIS-K, or the Islamic State in Khorasan.
Regardless of who is responsible for the hospital attack, violence between the Afghan government and the Taliban has been a problem throughout the recent U.S.-Taliban peace agreement and efforts to begin an intra-Afghan dialogue. In the two months since the deal was signed, Afghan Ministry of Interior said it had observed more than 3,700 attacks and government forces have conducted almost 1,600 defensive operations, Stars and Stripes reported.
It is clear that the cycle of Taliban violence has begun again, now that the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Mujahid said the new Taliban suicide bombing was done in a deliberate response to Ghani’s renewed offensive against the insurgent group.
Two more people were reportedly killed in a separate car bombing in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday. The same day there was an assassination attempt against an Afghan defense official in the capital.
In the days following the hospital attack and Ghani’s offensive decision, Afghan forces have already reported numerous Taliban fighters killed or wounded in the fighting.
“At least 249 Taliban were killed and 138 wounded by ANDSF in the past week. Meanwhile, the Taliban harmed close to 300 civilians,” Afghan National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal tweeted. “This catastrophic war is a human tragedy that kills Afghans only, and without distinction. Why don’t Taliban see the obvious and end violence?”
At least 249 Taliban were killed and 138 wounded by ANDSF in the past week. Meanwhile, the Taliban harmed close to 300 civilians. This catastrophic war is a human tragedy that kills Afghans only, and without distinction. Why don’t Taliban see the obvious and end violence?
— Javid Faisal (@Javidfaisal) May 17, 2020