Taliban’s new tactic: Hits on high-value targets
A car with the licence plate of a high-ranking Afghan general approached the gates of the defense ministry in Kabul last month. A special "A'' pass also was on its windshield, so guards quickly waved it through.Updated: May 30, 2011 02:12 IST
A car with the licence plate of a high-ranking Afghan general approached the gates of the defense ministry in Kabul last month. A special "A'' pass also was on its windshield, so guards quickly waved it through.
Once inside, a man in an army uniform jumped from the car and stormed the ministry’s main office building, an Afghan government official said. He gunned down two Afghan soldiers before being killed. The gunman also fatally wounded an Afghan army officer who died later at a hospital.
The April 18 attack brazen and cleverly orchestrated by insurgents is indicative of the high-profile yet small-scale attacks that are trademarks of the Taliban's spring campaign. Unable to match the firepower of the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces, insurgents conduct suicide bombings and assaults on government buildings, figuring these types of attacks will prove their resilience.
On Saturday, a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform detonated a vest laden with explosives at a provincial governor's compound in northern Afghanistan, killing two top Afghan police commanders and wounding the German general who commands NATO forces in the north. Two Germans and two other Afghans died.
It's unclear how deep of a dent the U.S.-led military campaign made in the insurgency over the winter or if these attacks are preludes to more widespread fighting by the Taliban this summer. Insurgents need to take back part of the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, their traditional strongholds, if they hope to retain their power base and the opium fields that fund their movement.
"Certainly the types of attacks they are now doing is an indicator they don't want to send a large number of fighters against coalition or Afghan National Security Forces because they know they will get the worse of that," said Lt. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the coalition.
First Published: May 30, 2011 01:53 IST