Taliban militants launched a car bomb and suicide attack Wednesday on a compound in Kabul that houses many international contractors, but only the attackers died in the assault, Afghan officials said. One insurgent was killed as he detonated a car packed with explosives at the gate of the “Green Village” compound, while three other attackers were shot dead as they tried to get inside, said deputy interior minister Ayub Salangi.
“There are no casualties to our foreign friends or to Afghans, they are all fine,” Salangi said on Twitter. The attack on the Green Village – a large fortified complex where many foreign employees live and work – was the latest in a series of suicide blasts in Kabul as US-led Nato troops end their 13-year war against the Taliban.
All Nato combat operations will finish at the end of this year, though 12,500 troops will remain into 2015 to support the Afghan army and police who are now responsible for security nation-wide. An AFP photographer said gunfire erupted shortly after the blast on Wednesday evening as security forces rushed to the scene in the east of the city.
The attack was claimed by the Taliban via a recognised Twitter account that said: “A car bomb targeted Green Village, on(e) of the most secure areas of foreigners.” On Tuesday, a Taliban suicide truck bomb struck at the entrance of a foreign security compound in Kabul, killing two Afghan guards. And on Sunday, Afghan lawmaker Shukria Barakzai escaped a suicide blast in the city as she drove in a convoy near parliament. Three civilians died in that attack.
Kabul has been hit by regular attacks in recent years, often against US-led military forces, foreign workers or government officials. The Green Village was attacked last year when a Taliban suicide bomber detonated another explosives-laden car near the compound entrance. It was also hit in 2012 when seven people were killed after attackers dressed in burqas detonated a similar car bomb.
Afghan stability could be at risk as US-led troops pull out, leaving national soldiers and police to take on the lead role in thwarting the Taliban. This year alone more than 4,600 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed in fighting, according to recent US figures. The Taliban launched several offensives this summer during a prolonged political deadlock in Kabul as Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah both claimed to have won the fraud-mired presidential election.
The two men eventually signed a power-sharing agreement, with Ghani inaugurated as president and Abdullah appointed to the new position of “chief executive”, a role similar to that of prime minister. Efforts to start peace talks with the Taliban collapsed acrimoniously last year, though the new administration may make fresh moves to open negotiations and bring the conflict to an end.