With a death toll of 64, the recent attacks in Kabul may be the deadliest in more than 15 years.
The attack took place on Tuesday morning, and began when a suicide bomber detonated near a security compound for government VIPs. The initial attack was followed by an hour-long gunfight with armed assailants, who have been identified as members of the Afghan Taliban. The attack took place only a week after the Taliban launched their spring offensive in attempts to overthrow Afghanistan’s Western backed government.
The location of the attack was very close to Pul-e-Mahmud Khan, a busy neighborhood near many military compounds and ministries. The attack took place only a couple miles away from the Presidential Palace, Ministry of Defense, and Eidgah Mosque, the second largest mosque in the capital. Many are concerned that the militants were able to pass a truck full of explosives into the busy city, especially since vehicles have to go through multiple mandatory security checkpoints to reach as deep into the city as the site of the attack.
“Before, we had focus on a peaceful mission,” Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah’s said, “but now there’s been a shift in strategy, to hit [Taliban] where it hurts the most. We’ll be hitting them with full force, with all means available. They do not answer positively to the peace call of the government, they answered with bullets. If they want war, we’ll give them war.”