January 21, 2013 | FDD’s Long War Journal

Taliban Suicide Assault Team Attacks Police Headquarters in Kabul

The Taliban launched their second suicide assault against a security installation in the capital of Kabul in six days.

The suicide assault team targeted the traffic police headquarters in western Kabul at about 5:30 a.m. local time today. The five-man team was heavily armed with suicide vests, assault rifles, and hand grenades, according to reports.

The Interior Ministry stated that three policemen were killed in the initial attack. Two of the suicide bombers were shot and killed, and their explosive vests detonated afterward. The rest of the Taliban team entered the compound and fought for eight hours before being killed.

“Two suicide bombers were shot dead and their explosive vests went off shortly after the attack began and three other militants, who entered the building, were killed by security forces inside the facility during the counter-attack operation,” the Ministry of Interior said, according to Xinhua.

Eight civilians and four policemen were wounded when a car bomb was detonated outside of the police headquarters. It is unclear if the car bomb was detonated remotely or by a suicide bomber.

Officials told Xinhua that the Taliban fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades at the nearby Afghan Border Police and Civil Order Police headquarters. The Interior Ministry did not report any casualties or damage to the two facilities.

The Taliban claimed credit for today's attack in Kabul, saying that four fighters carried out the attack. The Taliban identified the fighters as “Mohammad Nabi from Ghazni province, Amir Khan from Nangarhar, Habibullah from the Deh Sabz area of Kabul, and Abdul Latif from Baghlan,” according to Pajhwok Afghan News.

The attack on the traffic police headquarters was the second against a security installation in the capital in six days. On Jan. 16, a suicide assault team attacked the National Directorate of Security headquarters in Kabul. All six fighters and one NDS guard were killed. The Taliban entered the compound before being repelled.

Today's attack, like the Jan. 16 assault on the NDS headquarters, took place in a high-security area of Kabul. Over the years, the Taliban have been able to penetrate sensitive areas of the capital to launch suicide bombings and assaults against Afghan ministries, ISAF headquarters, the US Embassy, hotels, and other targets.

The Taliban have also executed multiple suicide assaults against major ISAF bases outside of Kabul. The most successful attack against a major base took place on Sept. 14, 2012, when a suicide assault team attacked Camp Bastion in Helmand province. The 15-man Taliban team penetrated the perimeter at the airbase, destroyed six USMC Harriers and damaged two more, and killed the squadron commander and a sergeant. In the course of the assault, 14 of the 15 members of the assault team were killed, while the last was wounded and captured. Camp Bastion is a sprawling military base shared by US Marines and British troops that is located in the middle of the Dashti Margo desert in Helmand province.

Today's attack takes place as the Afghan government claims it is making progress on negotiations with the Taliban. But the Taliban have insisted that all foreign forces withdraw from the country before any agreement can be reached. Additionally, the Taliban have refused to denounce their ally, al Qaeda.