Afghanistan: Taliban claim attack in Kabul targeting defense minister

Published : August 04, 2021 20:13 IST

The blast targeted the home of the minister late on August 3. Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP Photo/picture alliance

The bomb-and-gun attack killed at least eight people and wounded 20. The minister was not hurt.

An attack targeting the Afghan acting defense minister's house in Kabul left at least eight people dead and 20 wounded, the Interior Ministry said on August 4.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack. A Taliban spokesperson said more attacks against top government officials were being planned. The attack comes as the insurgent group presses ahead with an offensive across Afghanistan, seizing several provincial capitals.

Another blast near the office of Afghanistan's main security agency wounded three people on August 4. It was not immediately clear if it was linked to the Taliban-claimed attack.

What we know about the attack

  • The attack took place in Kabul's upscale and heavily guarded Shirpur area;
  • An explosives-packed vehicle was detonated late Tuesday near the minister's house;
  • Another loud blast took place less than two hours later;
  • After the blasts, five gunmen entered residential buildings and engaged in a gun battle with the Afghan forces;
  • The gun battle lasted for more than four hours.

'Retaliatory operations'

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said the attack was "the beginning of the retaliatory operations" against the Afghan government, which had ordered attacks against the militant group.

The threat came after Afghan forces launched a counterattack against the insurgents in the southern city of Lashkar Gah. U.S. and Afghan forces have recently intensified airstrikes against the Taliban to push them back.

Acting Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi said in a video released shortly after the attack on August 3 that it would not "have any impact on my willingness to defend my countrymen and my country."

Taliban advances

Since foreign troops began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in May, the Taliban made significant advances, especially in rural areas of the country. On August 3, Afghan officials said the Taliban had seized nine out of 10 districts in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helman province.

Fighting has also been ongoing for days in the Kandahar province and in the western part of the city of Herat, in the west. The conflict has killed dozens of civilians and displaced hundreds in recent weeks.

The attack on August 3 represents a major escalation by the Taliban, as Kabul has largely been spared the violence hitting other parts of the country.

fb/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)