In a bid to demonstrate its resurgence and tactical sophistication ahead of the impending withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces, the Afghan Taliban coordinated a series of bombings across Afghanistan. On Sunday, two explosions occurred within an hour in Kabul. Other bombs were detonated across the country on Monday in Jalalabad, Logar province, and again in Kabul. One of the initial Kabul explosions was perpetrated by a suicide bomber who successfully infiltrated Kabul’s highly secure city police headquarters. That attack killed the police chief’s chief of staff, Col. Mohammad Yassin and injured an additional seven. Afghan authorities maintain that the attack was an assassination attempt against Kabul’s police chief. In the case of the Logar bombing, the attacker was wearing a police uniform. Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attacks on behalf of the insurgent group.
Beginning with the announcement of its annual “Spring Offensive” earlier this year, the Afghan Taliban has been keen to ramp up attacks as international forces prepare to depart Afghanistan. In carrying out these attacks, the insurgent group purports to highlight the ineffectiveness of the central government in Kabul. While a majority of U.S. and NATO troops will leave the country at the end of the year, a small number will stay on in Afghanistan for limited counter-terrorism and training purposes. Officials in the United States have expressed their doubts about the Afghan National Army’s competency in holding off a persistent Taliban threat into 2015 and beyond. The attacks in Kabul particularly highlight the continued need for security in the country’s capital.
This recent spate of attacks appears to have been specifically focused against members of Afghanistan’s police and security forces, highlighting a possible shift in the Taliban’s priorities. While the group has always attacked military targets, it punctuates those attacks with the occasional high-profile attack on a civilian target. The recent focus on police and military targets in particular could be a bid to weaken the hand of the new national unity government in Kabul as it works to consolidate power across the country. Following a disputed presidential election, the two leading candidates agreed to share power with Ashraf Ghani as the new president of Afghanistan and Abdullah Abdullah as the country’s new chief executive.