Two suicide attacks by Taleban in Kabul

Burning vehicles at the site of a bomb blast that targeted Nato forces in Kabul on July 7.
Burning vehicles at the site of a bomb blast that targeted Nato forces in Kabul on July 7. PHOTO: AFP

Nato vehicle and Afghan spy agency branch targeted, as extremists step up their offensive

KABUL • Two suicide attacks in Kabul yesterday targeted first Nato, then the Afghan spy agency, leaving one person dead and five wounded, as the Taleban steps up its annual summer offensive.

In the first incident, a Taleban suicide car bomber targeting a Nato vehicle rocked the south-east of the city and wounded three people, including one described by the police as a "foreigner".

An hour later, three Taleban attackers tried to storm a branch office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan's main intelligence agency. One militant on a motorcycle blew himself up, killing a guard, before other guards killed his two colleagues.

It was the third time in three weeks that the Afghan capital had come under significant attack. The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attacks in messages on Twitter.

In the wake of the car bomb, the street was covered with rubble and broken glass. A white sport utility vehicle was badly damaged.

"We can confirm that an attack on coalition forces occurred in Kabul at approximately 11.30am," a spokesman for the coalition forces said, adding that no foreign personnel were killed in the attack.

The second attack, on the Afghan spy agency, occurred in the same area of the city.

"One attacker on a motorcycle detonated his explosives at the gate of an NDS office, killing a guard and wounding two," said Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi .

"The other two attackers who tried to enter the building were killed by other guards."

Yesterday's violence came a week after a Taleban suicide car bomber targeted a Nato military convoy on the main road to Kabul airport, killing at least two Afghan civilians and wounding around 17.

A week before that, insurgents launched a brazen attack on the Afghan Parliament. Police and soldiers repelled the attack, with only two civilians killed. But the incident highlighted the Taleban's continuing ability to strike the heart of the heavily secured capital.

Nato's combat mission formally ended last December after 13 years, but a small follow-up foreign force has stayed on to train and support local security forces to face their first "fighting season" battling the Taleban on their own.

Stretched on multiple fronts and facing record casualties, Afghan forces are struggling to rein in the militants even as the government makes repeated efforts to jump-start peace negotiations.

The Taleban's annual summer offensive, which began in late April, has sent civilian and military casualties soaring, and threatened major cities for the first time in a decade.

A fierce battle has been going on in the northern province of Kunduz, where last month Taleban fighters threatened to overrun their first provincial capital since being toppled from power in 2001.

However, there could be a step towards starting a formal peace process with the insurgent group. The Afghan government has sent a delegation to Pakistan for negotiations with the Taleban, the president's office said in a statement yesterday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2015, with the headline 'Two suicide attacks by Taleban in Kabul'. Print Edition | Subscribe